50. Reading Skills Comprehension: Ministry of Environment

By | July 29, 2020

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Ministry of Environment

Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:                             

The ministry of environment and forests has asked for the public’s comments on reviewing five crucial environmental laws, including the Air and Water (prevention and control of pollution) Acts any amendment to which will impact the city massively.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the pollution watchdog that implements these acts in Delhi, will not comment. DPCC officials claimed MoEF hasn’t asked them to. “We are not sure if we are supposed to express our views. We may comment once the draft new law is ready. The state governments can’t do much when a committee to review the laws has already been set up,” said a senior official.

Sanjiv Kumar, the environment secretary, Delhi, also said he has no idea if state governments are to make suggestions. The committee, however, said on MoEF’s website that it “desires” to engage in consultation with state governments.

Meanwhile, environmentalists are concerned they may not be able to articulate how these Acts can be strengthened given the ministry’s 1,000 characters (a little over six text messages) limit. Many are worried for the review has been commissioned to dilute environmental laws and penalties on polluters, especially industries.

Rahul Choudhury, advocate and NGT Bar Association member said, “There is no scope to dilute these laws because they are already very weak.” He cited the example of state pollution control boards that continue to renew no-objection certificates to industries not conforming to norms. “There is no provision in the acts to review past conduct by pollution boards and revoke NOCs. The head of the board is usually a political appointee, often with no knowledge of environmental issues. Such loopholes make things easy for industries,” he said.

Comparing the country’s pollution control boards with the US Environmental Protection Agency, Choudhury said, “They have far more stringent parameters. In the last few years, more than 80% of industries in Ghaziabad and Noida have not been complying with the Air Act”.

C R Babu, DU Professor Emeritus and Chairman of the state-level expert appraisal committee, and AnumitaRoychowdhury, Head of Centre for Science and Environment’s clean air programme, said emissions from automobiles need to be brought under the Air Act from the motor vehicle (MV) Act. As of now, vehicular emissions are under the MV Act.

“I am quite certain that this process has been started to weaken the acts but this will not help business in the long run. We will lose out tremendously on natural capital and ecological services. Can you imagine what’s going to happen if air and water pollution control laws are relaxed further in Delhi? People can’t survive in the city if that happens,” said Babu.


I. Answer briefly:

1. Why has the ministry of environment and forests asked for public comments on environmental laws?

2. Why are environmentalists worried?

3. How do India’s pollution control boards compare with their counterparts in the US?

4. What will happen if air and water pollution control laws are relaxed in Delhi?

II. Vocabulary:

1.The word ‘faculty’ means:

 (a) department          (b) group                    

(c) category                 (d) mental and physical ability

2. Synonym for the word ‘harsh’ in the passage is:

(a) hard                       (b) difficult                  (c) stringent                (d) tough

3. The noun form of the word ‘pollute’ is:

 (a) polluting               (b) pollution                (c) polluted                  (d) none of these

4. The opposite of ‘strengthening’ in the passage is:

(a) weakening             (b) diluting                  (c) removing               (d) eliminating


I.1. The ministry of environment and forests has asked for public comments on environmental laws to review them rationally and amending Air and Water Acts, if needed, in the changing circumstances.

2. Environmentalists don’t have genuine faith in the intention of the ministry of environment and forests. They are worried that the review has been commissioned only to dilute the laws regarding the prevention of pollution.

3. In the US, the US Environmental Agency has far more stringent parameters when compared to their counterparts in India. In the last few years, 80% of industries in Ghaziabad and Noida have not been complying with their Act.

4. It will have a disastrous effect on the environment if air and water pollution control laws are relaxed in Delhi. People can’t survive in the city if that happens.

II.1. (d) mental and physical ability

2. (c) stringent

3. (b) pollution

4. (b) diluting

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