LAW AND ENVIROMENT
Environmental law is a collective term describing international treaties (conventions), statutes, regulations, and common law or national legislation (where applicable) that operates to regulate the interaction of humanity and the natural environment, toward the purpose of reducing the impacts of human activity.
The environment law may be divided into two major subjects: pollution control and remediation, and resource conservation, individual exhaustion. The limitations and expenses that such laws may impose on commerce, and the often unquantifiable (non-monetized) benefit of environmental protection, have generated and continue to generate significant controversy.
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Nuisance may either be private or public. Private nuisance seeks to protect a landowner’s from interference with his or her use and enjoyment of land, and in so doing seeks to protect a landowners from interference with his or her use and enjoyment of land , and in so doing seeks to balance the competing claims of landowners by ensuring that one landowner’s use of his or her land does not unduly subordinate the rights of adjoining landowner. But because this cause of action is available only to landowners, its usefulness for environment protection is quite circumscribed as it can only be claimed by those that own land. So that where the land owner does not pursue it, environmental degradation will in all likelihood continue unabated.
Conversely, public nuisance seeks to remedy nuisances which affect an interest that is common to the general public. As a general rule, this cause of action can only be claimed by an appropriate public official, unless an individual can demonstrate that he or she has suffered some particular direct and substantial loss over and above the suffered by the public at large. Thus the requirement of locus standi is a serious impediment to the efficacy of public nuisance as an instrument for environmental regulation.
Trespass involves the direct and physical interference with another’s ownership or occupation of land, which need not be environmental in nature. This cause is thus inadequate as a tool for environmental management, given that the interference must be physical and direct. For instance, it is ineffective for air pollution control.
The cause of action of negligence may also be instrumental in managing environmental problems such as factory emissions, provided it can be established that the injury allege to have been caused by the defendant was foreseeable, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, and the injury sustained by the plaintiff was caused by the defendant’s act of negligence.
The cause of action of strict liability, also known as the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher, requires that “The person who for his own purposes brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his own peril, and, if he does not do so , is ‘prima facie’ answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape” In effect, this cause of action holds a land owner strictly responsible for ensuring that nothing escapes from his or her land where he or she is using such land in manner that is not “natural.”
The common law also protects riparian rights, that is, the rights of those who own land abutting a waterfront to use the water without prejudicing the equal rights of other Riparian owners. The riparian land owner has three basic rights, that is, a right to the natural quantity of water, a right to the natural quality of the water, and a right of access and navigation. Riparian rights are thus...