You know very well what environmental protection agency is.
You also have at least a vague idea of its role and functions.
When you see environmental violation anywhere you slam it.
You condemn its lethargy.
You complain of its lack of efficiency.
You have an overall impression of what it is supposed to do for green care.
But very few of us know its exact role.
If you ask any environmental official to know the exact role of environmental protection agency, his answer is usually not so simple. He uses technical terms while defining the role of his department. He beats about the bush and instead of telling what it can do for public he simply describes what it has done so far for the public.
Do you have an environmental protection agency?
In every country there is an environmental protection agency in its each state or province to take care of its entire environment. Mostly it works under government control. It has all necessary powers and facilities to perform its duties. It has environmentalists, technical experts, laboratory chemists, field workers and researchers to keep the province or state free from all types of environmental hazards.
But in every country it is not performing its role with the same efficiency. In backward countries there is huge corruption in it. In advance nations it is doing its job well. But it has to face pressure of powerful cartels of producers while drafting a new stringent law to control pollution.
What lies in name?
Generally it is called environmental protection agency with short form of EPA. In some countries it is called pollution control board, somewhere environmental protection authority and somewhere it is called environmental protection department. But its role is more or less same everywhere.
How to contact EPA of your area?
It is not so difficult. Mostly every EPA has its own website. If you have internet facility just Google it by putting name of your state or province to know its exact contact details. If you don’t have internet you can visit your nearby government office to get its contact details. Usually every government office has details of all government offices located in its area.
Top 20 roles of environmental protection agency
So it is necessary to be clear on what environmental protection agency is assigned to do for the protection and rehabilitation of environment.
1. To stop every act of polluting
It is the duty of environmental protection agency to stop every act of polluting in its area. It has powers to seal the polluting factory or dump the polluting vehicle if emissions from it are above limits. If a factory is releasing effluent without treatment it can shutdown that factory. It can take help from police to forcibly close the polluting factory or any other unit. Does it do its job everywhere? No almost not. In every country it has pressure of its government, industrial associations and giant corporations not to take straightaway action in first step. It has to give some days’ time to polluter to either correct its act of polluting or ready to be shutdown.
Being a citizen you can bring any act of polluting to the notice of environmental protection agency of your area. If it does not take action on your complain you can take your complain to court of law. Court has legal power to take action against EPA on not taking action against an act of polluting if it is proved. So you – the people – have power to kick the ass of EPA of your area. For this purpose you have to get up and take action.
2. To prosecute polluters
If an act of polluting is proved with substantial evidence, EPA has power to prosecute the polluter. It can refer its case to green court or any other court of law to take punitive action against the polluter. It means the job of environmental protection agency is not only to stop the act of polluting but also to prosecute the polluter to set an example for others. So you need not to be disappointed if an act of polluting is going on around you. If you make its complain to environmental protection agency of your area its perpetrator will have to face punishment by the court.
3. To fine polluters
If there is a minor act of polluting it can fine the polluter then and there. It has legal power under the green law of its country to fine a certain amount on a violator of environmental standards. So it is wrongly presumed that a lot of time is required to stop an act of polluting. If such act is of minor nature EPA can fine it on the spot. You just need to make complain of such act to EPA and kick its ass for a prompt action.
4. To guide communities
The role of environmental protection agency is not simply regulatory in nature. It has to guide the communities on how to protect their surrounding environment from all types of hazards. It has expertise and motivators to make communities act for the green care. If you contact it you will be given all the necessary advisory for green care without any charges.
5. To assist communities
Environmental protection agency of your area is also bound to assist you to carry out your micro green projects on self-help basis. Such projects may be tree plantation, installation of dustbins in streets, repair of drains of your area etc. You need to contact it to get all the possible assistance it can provide for this purpose.
6. To provide green data
How much solid waste is generated in your area? Out of it, how much is safely disposed of. How much carbon is emitted by factories and vehicles in your area? How much civic wastewater is treated before its disposal? What are the health effects of pollution in your area? EPA of your area has all this information which you can use to keep your environment safe. You just need to request it for this information and it is bound to provide you. It is bound by the law to provide you your required green data related to your area.
7. To solve minor environmental problems
It is the responsibility of EPA to solve minor environmental problems of your area without any delay. For the solution of major problems it can take time but for minor ones it is not allowed to delay. If garbage is not collected in your area you can complain EPA to ask the garbage collector to do his job efficiently.
8. To guide industries to protect environment
EPA has not to simply take legal action against polluting industries. It has to guide the industries on how to abide by green laws and avoid polluting environment. It has to offer all technical guidance to each industry under its jurisdiction to follow the green laws and protect the environment.
9. To give green info to media
People want to know how the environment of their area is. This they can know through media. So EPA is bound to provide every necessary green data to media for making it public. It is the right of public to know every latest research and development in environment sector. EPA has to update public on green info with the help of media.
10. To guide hospitals to dispose of infectious waste
EPA has to coordinate with every unit that may pollute the environment. Hospitals generate part of waste that is infectious. It needs to be disposed of in an extremely safe way. It is called incineration. EPA has to guide hospitals on how to incinerate their infectious waste for safety of public. If you observe a hospital of your area is directly throwing the infectious waste without its treatment you can make its complain to EPA to take action against such hospital. Infectious waste includes all such medical waste that may communicate disease to others. It is used bandages, syringes, operation utensils, pathological waste of patients etc
11. To test and analyze samples
If a factory is suspected of releasing the toxic effluent directly into a water body, EPA has to take its sample for laboratory test. It must have laboratory to test the samples to get substantial evidence against a polluting factory. So you need not to worry how an act of polluting will be proved. It is the job of environmental protection agency to prove it scientifically before taking action against the polluter.
12. To train staff members of government departments
Staff members of government departments in backward countries don’t know importance of green care while performing their duties. For installation of an electric pole they cut the tree without knowing it is a big violation of green law. EPA has to train such government employees on how to take care of environment while performing their duties. It does not need any big project or huge funds. Just a technical expert of EPA needs to visit a government department and train all its employees on how to take care of environment while working.
13. Educate students environmentally
To make aware people especially students is also the job of EPA. It has to design awareness projects to let students know about harms of various types of pollution, how to take care of environment and what role they can play to keep environment safe. EPA has awareness staff in every country to do this job. In backward countries EPA is quite weak in this field but in advance countries this job is done well.
14. To make housewives aware
EPA has to make aware all groups of society. Housewives are one of the major groups. They must learn how to safely and productively dispose of kitchen waste. How to control indoor pollution? How to manage garbage? For this EPA has to design special message to convey it to its target audience as broadly as possible.
15. To produce contents in simpler terms
In poor countries most of the people are not highly educated. They can’t understand green message in hi-fi language. So EPA has to convey message for green care in simpler terms. It has to produce green contents in easy to understand language to let people know how to take care of their environment.
16. To enforce green laws
This is the most important job of environmental protection agency of every country. It cannot make any kind of excuse if it is not doing this job well. You can complain of EPA to court of law if it does not enforce green law of your area. After that court will itself kick the ass of EPA. You just need to produce strong evidence in support of your complain.
17. To develop draft for more green laws
EPA needs not to be contented on set of certain number of green laws that are in its hand. It must keep making efforts to make them more comprehensive. Development is taking place very fast. It is necessary to monitor this development for the cause of green care. So EPA should keep expanding the scope of green laws. For this purpose it should keep developing draft for more green laws to get them approved from the house of legislatures.
18. To develop policy to protect environment
Green laws are not enough to protect the environment of an area. Everybody in an area is not polluter. So it can’t be dealt with the stick of law. For this carrot is equally important. So a green policy is must to protect the environment of an area. For this purpose EPA is bound under the law to frame a green policy and keep amending it time to time to keep it up-to-date.
19. To develop strategy to keep environment safe
A green policy can’t be implemented without a strategy. How to control pollution and which sector needs more attention. It is defined in strategy. EPA has to develop such strategy to effectively implement green laws and green policy in the area of its jurisdiction.
20. To guide government on what to do for environment
The job of environment protection is not limited to enforcement of green laws and implementation of green policy. Development does not know any border. So, environmental care should also be without any limit. Environment protection agency has to keep guiding government what can be done further to make our environment safe and least vulnerable to all types of hazards.
So these are the twenty responsibilities of environmental protection agency of your area. You need not be shy if you see it weak in any of its responsibilities. You should simply get up and kick its ass to make this world a safer place to live and hand over it to over coming generations. Am I right?
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