Explained: What are the safeguards against chemical disasters in India?

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News:According to the National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA), over 130 significant chemical accidents have been reported in the country.

Facts:

Chemical Disaster:It is the unintentional release of one or more hazardous substances which could harm human health and the environment.The most dangerous chemical accident was 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in which more than 3,000 people died after a highly toxic vapour (methyl isocyanate) was released at a Union Carbide Pesticides factory.

Laws to Protect Against Chemical Disasters in India:

  • Bhopal Gas Leak (Processing of Claims) Act,1985: It gives powers to the central government to secure the claims arising out of or connected with the Bhopal gas tragedy.Under the provisions of this Act, such claims are dealt with speedily and equitably.
  • The Environment Protection Act,1986: It gives powers to the central government to undertake measures for improving the environment and set standards and inspect industrial units.
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act,1991:It is an insurance meant to provide relief to persons affected by accidents that occur while handling hazardous substances.
  • National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997:Under this Act, the National Environment Appellate Authority can hear appeals regarding restriction of areas in which any industries operations shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010: It provided for the establishment of the National Green Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests.