Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural
environment on individual, organization controlled or governmental
levels, for the benefit of both the environment and humans. Due to the
pressures of overconsumption, population and technology, the
biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently. This
has been recognized, and governments have begun placing restraints on
activities that cause environmental degradation. Since the 1960s,
activity of environmental movements has created awareness of the
various environmental problems. There is no agreement on the extent of
the environmental impact of human activity and even scientific
dishonesty occurs, so protection measures are occasionally debated.
1 Approaches with regards to environmental protection
1.1 Voluntary environmental agreements
1.2 Ecosystems approach
1.3 International environmental agreements
2.1.1 History of environmental protection
2.1.2 Government protection
2.3 European Union
2.5 Latin America
2.6.2 New Zealand
2.8 United States
3 In literature
4 See also
Approaches with regards to environmental protection
Voluntary environmental agreements
In industrial countries, voluntary environmental agreements often
provide a platform for companies to be recognized for moving beyond
the minimum regulatory standards and thus support the development of
best environmental practice. For instance, in India, Environment
Improvement Trust (EIT) has been working for environment & forest
protection since 1998. A group of Green Volunteers get a goal of Green
India Clean India concept. CA Gajendra Kumar Jain a Chartered
Accountant, is the founder of Environment Improvement Trust in Sojat
city a small village of State of Rajasthan in India  In developing
countries, such as throughout Latin America, these agreements are more
commonly used to remedy significant levels of non-compliance with
mandatory regulation. The challenges that exist with these
agreements lie in establishing baseline data, targets, monitoring and
reporting. Due to the difficulties inherent in evaluating
effectiveness, their use is often questioned and, indeed, the whole
environment may well be adversely affected as a result. The key
advantage of their use in developing countries is that their use helps
to build environmental management capacity.
An ecosystems approach to resource management and environmental
protection aims to consider the complex interrelationships of an
entire ecosystem in decision making rather than simply responding to
specific issues and challenges. Ideally the decision-making processes
under such an approach would be a collaborative approach to planning
and decision making that involves a broad range of stakeholders across
all relevant governmental departments, as well as representatives of
industry, environmental groups and community. This approach ideally
supports a better exchange of information, development of
conflict-resolution strategies and improved regional
conservation.Religions also play an important role in conservation of
environment.Ref-Hadiya Habib (Role of religious education and
different religions in conservation and maintenance of environment,
www.oiirj.org)vol 07, July 2017, special issue.
International environmental agreements
Kyoto Protocol Commitment map 2010
Many of the earth's resources are especially vulnerable because they
are influenced by human impacts across many countries. As a result of
this, many attempts are made by countries to develop agreements that
are signed by multiple governments to prevent damage or manage the
impacts of human activity on natural resources. This can include
agreements that impact factors such as climate, oceans, rivers and air
pollution. These international environmental agreements are sometimes
legally binding documents that have legal implications when they are
not followed and, at other times, are more agreements in principle or
are for use as codes of conduct. These agreements have a long history
with some multinational agreements being in place from as early as
1910 in Europe, America and Africa. Some of the most well-known
international agreements include the
Kyoto Protocol and others.
Main article: Kyoto Protocol
Discussion concerning environmental protection often focuses on the
role of government, legislation, and law enforcement. However, in its
broadest sense, environmental protection may be seen to be the
responsibility of all the people and not simply that of government.
Decisions that impact the environment will ideally involve a broad
range of stakeholders including industry, indigenous groups,
environmental group and community representatives. Gradually,
environmental decision-making processes are evolving to reflect this
broad base of stakeholders and are becoming more collaborative in many
Many constitutions acknowledge the fundamental right to environmental
protection and many international treaties acknowledge the right to
live in a healthy environment. Also, many countries have
organizations and agencies devoted to environmental protection. There
are international environmental protection organizations, such as the
United Nations Environment Programme.
Although environmental protection is not simply the responsibility of
government agencies, most people view these agencies as being of prime
importance in establishing and maintaining basic standards that
protect both the environment and the people interacting with it.
Tanzania is recognised as having some of the greatest biodiversity of
any African country. Almost 40% of the land has been established into
a network of protected areas, including several national parks. The
concerns for the natural environment include damage to ecosystems and
loss of habitat resulting from population growth, expansion of
subsistence agriculture, pollution, timber extraction and significant
use of timber as fuel.
Zebras at the Serengeti savana plains in Tanzania
History of environmental protection
Environmental protection in
Tanzania began during the German
occupation of East Africa (1884-1919) — colonial conservation laws
for the protection of game and forests were enacted, whereby
restrictions were placed upon traditional indigenous activities such
as hunting, firewood collecting and cattle grazing. In year 1948,
Serengeti was officially established as the first national park for
wild cats in East Africa. Since 1983, there has been a more
broad-reaching effort to manage environmental issues at a national
level, through the establishment of the National Environment
Management Council (NEMC) and the development of an environmental act.
In 1998 Environment Improvement Trust (EIT) start working for
environment & forest protection in India from a small city Sojat.
Founder of Environment Improvement Trust is CA Gajendra Kumar Jain
working with volunteers.
Division of the biosphere is the main government body that oversees
protection. It does this through the formulation of policy,
coordinating and monitoring environmental issues, environmental
planning and policy-oriented environmental research.The National
Environment Management Council (NEMC) is an institution that was
initiated when the National Environment Management Act was first
introduced in year 1983. This council has the role to advise
governments and the international community on a range of
environmental issues. The NEMC the following purposes: provide
technical advice; coordinate technical activities; develop enforcement
guidelines and procedures; assess, monitor and evaluate activities
that impact the environment; promote and assist environmental
information and communication; and seek advancement of scientific
The National Environment Policy of 1997 acts as a framework for
environmental decision making in Tanzania. The policy objectives are
to achieve the following:
Ensure sustainable and equitable use of resources without degrading
the environment or risking health or safety
Prevent and control degradation of land, water, vegetation and air
Conserve and enhance natural and man-made heritage, including
biological diversity of unique ecosystems
Improve condition and productivity of degraded areas
Raise awareness and understanding of the link between environment and
Promote individual and community participation
Promote international cooperation
Tanzania is a signatory to a significant number of international
conventions including the Rio Declaration on Development and
Environment 1992 and the Convention on Biological Diversity 1996. The
Environmental Management Act, 2004, is the first comprehensive legal
and institutional framework to guide environmental-management
decisions. The policy tools that are parts of the act includes the use
of: environmental-impact assessments, strategics environmentals
assessments and taxation on pollution for specific industries and
products. The effectiveness of shifing of this act will only become
clear over time as concerns regarding its implementation become
apparent based on the fact that, historically, there has been a lack
of capacity to enforce environmental laws and a lack of working tools
to bring environmental-protection objectives into practice.
Longwanqun National Forest Park
Longwanqun National Forest Park is a nationally protected nature
area in Huinan County, Jilin, China
Formal environmental protection in China House was first stimulated by
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in
Stockholm, Sweden. Following this, they began establishing
environmental protection agencies and putting controls on some of its
industrial waste. China was one of the first developing countries to
implement a sustainable development strategy. In 1983 the State
Council announced that environmental protection would be one of
China's basic national policies and in 1984 the National Environmental
Protection Agency (NEPA) was established. Following severe flooding of
the Yangtze River basin in 1998, NEPA was upgraded to the State
Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) meaning that environmental
protection was now being implemented at a ministerial level. In 2008,
SEPA became known by its current name of Ministry of Environmental
Protection of the People's Republic of China (MEP).
Pollution control instruments in China
Concentration-based pollution discharge controls
Pollution levy fee
Environmental labeling system
Mass-based controls on total provincial discharge
ISO 14000 system
Environmental awareness campaign
Environmental impact assessments (EIA)
Discharge permit system
Air pollution index
Three synchronization program
Sulfur emission fee
Water quality disclosure
Deadline transmission trading
Administrative permission hearing
Centralized pollution control
Subsidies for energy saving products
Two compliance policy
Regulation on refuse credit to high-polluting firms
Environmental compensation fee
Environmental pollution and ecological degradation has resulted in
economic losses for China. In 2005, economic losses (mainly from air
pollution) were calculated at 7.7% of China's GDP. This grew to 10.3%
by 2002 and the economic loss from water pollution (6.1%) began to
exceed that caused by air pollution. China has been one of the top
performing countries in terms of
GDP growth (9.64% in the past ten
years). However, the high economic growth has put immense pressure
on its environment and the environmental challenges that China faces
are greater than most countries. In 2010 China was ranked 121st out of
163 countries on the Environmental Performance Index.
China has taken initiatives to increase its protection of the
environment and combat environmental degradation:
China's investment in renewable energy grew 18% in 2007 to $15.6
billion, accounting for ~10% of the global investment in this
In 2008, spending on the environment was 1.49% of GDP, up 3.4 times
The discharge of CO (carbon monoxide) and SO2 (sulfur dioxide)
decreased by 6.61% and 8.95% in 2008 compared with that in 2005;
China's protected nature reserves have increased substantially. In
1978 there were only 34 compared with 2,538 in 2010. The protected
nature reserve system now occupies 15.5% of the country; this is
higher than the world average.
Rapid growth in
GDP has been China's main goal during the past three
decades with a dominant development model of inefficient resource use
and high pollution to achieve high GDP. For China to develop
sustainably, environmental protection should be treated as an integral
part of its economic policies.
Quote from Shengxian Zhou, head of MEP (2009): "Good economic policy
is good environmental policy and the nature of environmental problem
is the economic structure, production form and develop model."
Environmental protection has become an important task for the
institutions of the European Community after the
Maastricht Treaty for
the European Union ratification by all the Member States. The EU is
already very active in the field of environmental policy with
important directives like those on environmental impact assessment and
on the access to environmental information for citizens in the Member
In Russia, environmental protection is considered an integral part of
national safety. There is an authorized state body - the Federal
Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology. However, there are a lot of
Top 5 Countries by biological diversity
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has identified 17
megadiverse countries. The list includes six Latin American countries:
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico,
Peru and Venezuela.
Brazil stand out among the rest because they have the largest area,
population and number of species. These countries represent a major
concern for environmental protection because they have high rates of
deforestation, ecosystems loss, pollution, and population growth.
Panorama of the
Iguazu falls in Brazil
Brazil has the largest amount of the world's tropical forests,
4,105,401 km2 (48.1% of Brazil), concentrated in the Amazon
Brazil is home to vast biological diversity, first among
the megadiverse countries of the world, having between 15%-20% of the
1.5 million globally described species.
The organization in charge of environment protection is the Brazilian
Ministry of the Environment (in Portuguese: Ministério do Meio
Ambiente, MMA). It was first created in year 1973 with the name
Special Secretariat for the Environment (Secretaria Especial de Meio
Ambiente), changing names several times, and adopting the final name
in year 1999. The Ministry is responsible for addressing the following
A national policy for the environment and for water resources;
A policy for the preservation, conservation and sustainable use of
ecosystems, biodiversity and forests;
Proposing strategies, mechanisms, economic and social instruments for
improving environmental quality, and sustainable use of natural
Policies for integrating production and the environment;
Environmental policies and programs for the Legal Amazon;
Ecological and economic territorial zoning.
In 2011, protected areas of the Amazon covered 2,197,485 km2 (an area
larger than Greenland), with conservation units, like national parks,
accounting for just over half (50.6%), and indigenous territories
representing the remaining 49.4%.
With over 200,000 different species,
Mexico is home to 10–12% of the
world's biodiversity, ranking first in reptile biodiversity and second
in mammals—one estimate indicates that over 50% of all animal
and plant species live in Mexico.
The history of environmental policy in
Mexico started in the 1940s
with the enactment of the Law of Conservation of Soil and Water (in
Spanish: Ley de Conservación de Suelo y Agua). Three decades later,
at the beginning of the 1970s, the Law to Prevent and Control
Environmental Pollution was created (Ley para Prevenir y Controlar la
In year 1972 was the first direct response from the federal government
to address eminent health effects from environmental issues. It
established the administrative organization of the Secretariat for the
Improvement of the Environment (Subsecretaría para el Mejoramiento
del Ambiente) in the Department of Health and Welfare.
The axolotl is an endemic species from the central part of Mexico
The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría del
Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT) is Mexico's
environment ministry. The Ministry is responsible for addressing the
Promote the protection, restoration and conservation of ecosystems,
natural resources, goods and environmental services, and to facilitate
their use and sustainable development.
Develop and implement a national policy on natural resources
Promote environmental management within the national territory, in
coordination with all levels of government and the private sector.
Evaluate and provide determination to the environmental impact
statements for development projects and prevention of ecological
Implement national policies on climate change and protection of the
Direct work and studies on national meteorological, climatological,
hydrological, and geohydrological systems, and participate in
international conventions on these subjects.
Regulate and monitor the conservation of waterways
In November 2000 there were 127 protected areas; currently there are
174, covering an area of 25,384,818 hectares, increasing federally
protected areas from 8.6% to 12.85% its land area.
Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef in
Australia is the largest barrier reef in the
In 2008, there was 98,487,116 ha of terrestrial protected area,
covering 12.8% of the land area of Australia. The 2002 figures of
10.1% of terrestrial area and 64,615,554 ha of protected marine
area were found to poorly represent about half of Australia's 85
Environmental protection in
Australia could be seen as starting with
the formation of the first National Park, Royal National Park, in
1879. More progressive environmental protection had it start in
the 1960s and 1970s with major international programs such as the
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the
Environment Committee of the
OECD in 1970, and the United Nations
Environment Programme of 1972. These events laid the foundations
by increasing public awareness and support for regulation. State
environmental legislation was irregular and deficient until the
Australian Environment Council (AEC) and Council of Nature
Conservation Ministers (CONCOM) were established in 1972 and 1974,
creating a forum to assist in coordinating environmental and
conservation policies between states and neighbouring countries.
These councils have since been replaced by the Australian and New
Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) in 1991 and
finally the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) in
At a national level, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 is the primary environmental protection
legislation for the Commonwealth of Australia. It concerns matters of
national and international environmental significance regarding flora,
fauna, ecological communities and cultural heritage. It also has
jurisdiction over any activity conducted by the Commonwealth, or
affecting it, that has significant environmental impact. The act
covers eight main areas:
National Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites
Nationally endangered or threatened species and ecological communities
Nuclear activities and actions
Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Commonwealth Marine areas
There are several Commonwealth protected lands due to partnerships
with traditional native owners, such as Kakadu National Park,
extraordinary biodiversity such as Christmas Island National Park, or
managed cooperatively due to cross-state location, such as the
Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.
At a state level, the bulk of environmental protection issues are left
to the responsibility of the state or territory. Each state in
Australia has its own environmental protection legislation and
corresponding agencies. Their jurisdiction is similar and covers
point-source pollution, such as from industry or commercial
activities, land/water use, and waste management. Most protected lands
are managed by states and territories with state legislative acts
creating different degrees and definitions of protected areas such as
wilderness, national land and marine parks, state forests, and
conservation areas. States also create regulation to limit and provide
general protection from air, water, and sound pollution.
At a local level, each city or regional council has responsibility
over issues not covered by state or national legislation. This
includes non-point source, or diffuse pollution, such as sediment
pollution from construction sites.
Australia ranks second place on the UN 2010 Human Development
Index and one of the lowest debt to
GDP ratios of the developed
economies. This could be seen as coming at the cost of the
Australia being the world leader in coal
exportation and species extinctions. Some have been
motivated to proclaim it is Australia's responsibility to set the
example of environmental reform for the rest of the world to
At a national level, the Ministry for the Environment is responsible
for environmental policy and the Department of Conservation addresses
conservation issues. At a regional level the regional councils
administer the legislation and address regional environmental issues.
Environmental protection in Switzerland
The environmental protection in Switzerland is mainly based on the
measures to be taken against global warming. The pollution in
Switzerland is mainly the pollution caused by vehicles and the
litteration by tourists.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park in California. One of the first protected areas
in the United States
Since 1969, the
United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has been working to protect the environment and human health. All
U.S. states have their own state departments of environmental
The EPA has drafted "Seven Priorities for EPA's Future", which
"Taking Action on Climate Change"
"Improving Air Quality"
Safety of Chemicals"
"Cleaning Up Our Communities"
"Protecting America's Waters"
"Expanding the Conversation on
Environmentalism and Working for
"Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships"
There are many works of literature that contain the themes of
environmental protection but some have been fundamental to its
evolution. Several pieces such as
A Sand County Almanac
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo
Tragedy of the commons
Tragedy of the commons by Garrett Hardin, and Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson have become classics due to their far reaching
Environmental protection is present in
fiction as well as non-fictional literature. Books such as Antarctica
and Blockade have environmental protection as subjects whereas The
Lorax has become a popular metaphor for environmental protection. "The
Limits of Trooghaft" by Desmond Stewart is a short story that
provides insight into human attitudes towards animals. Another book
called "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury investigates issues
such as bombs, wars, government control, and what effects these can
have on the environment.
Sustainable development portal
Earth sciences portal
List of environmental organizations
List of environmental issues
List of environmental topics
List of international environmental agreements
Natural resource management
Participation (decision making)
Public information and participation
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