Environment-related Acts are outdated
This is with reference to "A continuing disaster" (December 1-15, 2014). Having been involved in the drafting process of various Acts on air, water and environment protection, I would like to make a few points. Unlike what the magazine says, pollution control board officials can enter a polluting establishment anytime and tell the owner that a sample needs to be collected. No previous intimation is needed.
I agree that there is a need to review these Acts since they were drafted decades ago, when the level of industrialisation and environmental problems were very different. With regard to the penalty of ` 10,000 prescribed by the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, I agree the fine is too low.
The story also says that health impacts of methyl isocyanate (MIC) are not known. This is incorrect. US government's National Institutes of Health sponsored a study on the health effects of MIC at the Michigan State University and the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. The study says inhalation of MIC damages lung tissues, and can cause pulmonary edema, asphyxiation and death. When MIC concentration exceeds 21 ppm, it results in the burning of lung tissues.