Environmental Justice Initiative (EJI) attempts to make any intervention in environmental protection more sensitive to human well being without compromising on environmental protection and conservation strategies. Besides, the effective enforcement of environmental rights lies in equipping communities to take part in environmental decision-making. The EJI firmly believes that the right to a clean environment is a basic human right, and has been actively involved in fighting environmental degradation that affects the lives and livelihood of the poor.
What We Do?
In this era of corporate led globalization where the government of India is working closely with corporate and international funding agencies on ‘development ‘ programs. Our EJI team has been actively involved in fighting environmental degradation that affects the life and livelihood of the poor and vulnerable sections of society by providing legal aid and public interest litigations, workshops, campaigns and publications.
We firmly believe that environmental justice can be achieved only through upholding environmental rights in such a way that ensures no individual or group is disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. Our work involves of insuring that no group benefits from environmental resources and services.
HRLN has done cases in the Supreme Court on silicosis, banning of asbestos, pesticides in the environment and food and the protection of forest. Disposal of bio medical waste , the closure of brick kilns in agricultures areas, implementation of rain water harvesting, children disabled due to groundwater contamination and restoring Dalit rights use of public pond which had been confiscated and displacement of people for dams. As a result of workshops organized by EJI team, a environmental clearance network was established in collaboration with other organizations. The ‘watchdog’ network ensures that development projects undergo a proper environmental clearance process.
We as an EJI undertake objective research and documentation by equipping grassroots organizations and community members to critically analyse EIA reports and environmental management projects. We conduct studies on issues like soil erosion and silting which is caused by widespread displacement. We further use these studies as evidence for our court cases.
Issues Of Concern
- Poor implementation of laws
- Denial of livelihood options o the poor
- Violation of basic rights such as access to clean water and natural resources to vulnerable communities.
We are at the forefront in fighting for the environment rights in the country through litigation. In a historic judgement in the case of Kishore Upadhay vs Union of India, the Supreme Court of India granted interim relief to the petitioner supporting his arguments on the rehabilitation of displaced people. The order reinforced the idea that rehabilitation for persons displaced by economic development is not merely financial in nature but should be viewed as disruption caused to victims life.
There are various pesticides which are ban in both developed and developing countries but are still finding way into Indian market and contaminating food like wheat, milk, fish, edible oil, flour, even drinking water and human blood and breast milk. The petition filed in Supreme Court Shrishti vs UOI & Ors seeks a ban on certain pesticides, mandatory labeling of products and the following of international standards in the use of pesticides.
Though developed countries have drastically reduced the manufacture and use of Asbestos and some have even banned all types of Asbestos. A petition Kalyaneshwari vs UOI & Ors filed in the Supreme Court of India have identified 500 plus victims from five states and more than 100 thousand more victim of asbestos moreover who were not being compensated by the state. Where countries are completely banning it India is trying to unsuccessfully introduce ‘ control use of Asbestos possible ‘ issue. The petition seeks banning the import and manufacture and use of asbestos in India.
The state has failed miserably in doing a proper inspection of the workers in informal sector suffering from silicosis disease. Due to inadequate detection, monitoring often silicosis is taken as TB also there is no remedial measures provided such as insurance, treatment, compensation and rehabilitation to the victims and families of victim. The petition filed in the Supreme Court prays for the constitution of a high level committee to investigate the occurrence of occupational disease and the unprecedented deaths of women and men and for the effective system of inspection, documentation a well recognized monitoring system and action programme involving governmental agencies industry, trade unions for creating awareness and provide compensation.
HRLN has been successful in bringing together civil society organizations and the judiciary by using a public interest litigation format to force an unresponsive government to implement important legislation. In the case of Laisharamcha Ji- Nine Meeti vs State of Manipur and Ors a petition was filed in Guhati High Court 2007 on behalf of Manipur environmental organization to force the state government to bring the state’s hospitals and clinics to compliance with Bio Medical Wastes (Management and Handling).
Our Environmental Activist Handbook as well as posters in local languages on EIA Notification is in great demand. These publications pertain to public participation in environmental law.