Functions

Functions and Powers of EPA

Functions of the Agency:

1) The Agency shall:

a) Administer and implement the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made there under;

b) Prepare in coordination with the appropriate Government Agency and in consultation with the concerned Sectoral Advisory Committees, environmental policies for approval by the Council;

c) Take all necessary measures for the implementation of the environmental policies approved by the Council;

d) Prepare and publish an annual Environment Report on the state of the environment;

e) Prepare or revise, and establish the Environmental Quality Standards with approval of the Council;

Provided that before seeking approval of the Council, the Agency shall publish the proposed Environmental Quality Standards for public opinion in accordance with the prescribed procedure; and

a) Ensure enforcement of the Environmental Quality Standards;

b) Establish standards for the quality of the ambient air, water and land by notification in the official Gazette.

Provided that;

  1. Different standards for discharge or emission from different source and for different areas and conditions may be specified;
  2. Certain areas, with the approval of the Council, may exclude from carrying out specific activities, projects from the application of such standards;
  3. Co-ordinate environmental policies and programs nationally and internationally;
  4. Establish systems and procedures for surveys, surveillance, monitoring, measurement, examination, investigation, research, inspection and audit to prevent and control pollution, and to estimate the costs of cleaning up pollution and rehabilitating the environment in various sectors;
  5. Take measures to promote research and the development of science and technology which may contribute to the prevention of pollution, protection of the environment, and sustainable development;
  6. Certify one or more laboratories as approved laboratories for conducting tests and analysis and one or more research institutes as environmental research institutes for conducting research and investigation, for the purposes of this Act;
  7. Identify the needs for and initiate legislation in various sectors of the environment;
  8. Render advice and assistance in environmental matters, including such information and data available with it as may be required for carrying out the purposes of this Act;
  9. Provided that the disclosure of such information shall be subject to the restrictions contained in the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 11;
  10. Assist the local councils, local authorities, Government Agencies and other persons to implement schemes for the proper disposal of wastes so as to ensure compliance with the standards established by it;
  11. Provide information and guidance to the public on environmental matters;
  12. Recommend environmental courses, topics, literature and books for incorporation in the curricula and syllabus of educational institutions;
  13. Promote public education and awareness of environmental issues through mass media and other means, including seminars and workshops;
  14. Specify safeguards for the prevention of accidents and disasters which may cause pollution, collaborate with the concerned person in the preparation of contingency plans for control of such accidents and disasters, and co-ordinate implementation of such plans;
  15. Encourage the formation and working of non-governmental organizations, community organizations and village organizations to prevent and control pollution and promote sustainable development;
  16. Take or cause to be taken all necessary measures for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation and improvement of the environment, prevention and control of pollution and promotion of sustainable development, and;
  17. Perform any function which the Council may assign to it.
  18. The Agency may;

a) Undertake inquiries or investigation into environmental issues, either of its own accord or upon complaint from any person or organization;

b) Request any person to furnish any information or data relevant to its functions;

c) Initiate with the approval of the Government, requests for foreign assistance in support of the purposes of this act and enter into arrangements with foreign agencies or organizations for the exchange of material or information and participate in international seminars or meetings;

d) Recommend to the Government the adoption of financial and fiscal programs, schemes or measures for achieving environmental objective and goals and the purposes of this Act, including;

  1. Incentives, prizes, awards, subsidies, tax exemptions, rebates and depreciation allowances, and
  2. Taxes, duties, cesses and other levies;

e) Establish and maintain laboratories to help in the performance of its functions under this Act and to conduct research in various aspects of the environment and provide or arrange necessary assistance for establishment of similar laboratories in the private sector; and

f) Provide or arrange, in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed, financial assistance for projects designed to facilitate the discharge of its functions.

Powers of the Agency:

Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Agency may;

a) Lease, purchase, acquire, own, hold, improve, use or otherwise deal in and with any property both movable and immovable;

b) Sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, exchange or otherwise dispose off its property and assets;

c) Fix and realize fees, rates and charges for rendering any service or providing any facility information or data under this Act or the rules and regulations made there under;

d) Enter into contracts, execute instruments, incur  liabilities and do all acts or things necessary for proper management and conduct of its business;

e) Appoint with the approval of the Government and in accordance with such procedures as may be prescribed, such advisers, experts and consultants as it considers necessary for the efficient performance of its functions on such terms and conditions as it may deem fit;

f) Summon and enforce the attendance of any person and require him to supply any information or document needed for the conduct of any inquiry or investigation into any environmental issue;

g) Enter and inspect and under the authority of a search warrant issued by the Environmental Tribunal or Environmental Magistrate, search at any reasonable time, any land, building, premises, vehicle or vessel or other place where or in which, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under this Act has been or is being committed;

h) Take samples of any material, product article or substance or of the effluent, waste or air pollutant being discharged or emitted or of air, water or land in the vicinity of the discharge or emission;

i) Arrange for test and analysis of the samples at a certified laboratory;

j) Confiscate any article used in the commission of the offence where the offender is not known or cannot be found within a reasonable time;

Provided that the power under clauses (f), (h), (i) and (j) shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898), or the rules made under this Act and under the direction of the Environmental Tribunal or Environmental Magistrate.