Victorian environmental protection act of 1970
The Victorian environmental protection act of 1970 controls and prevents pollution in two ways. Firstly it states, defines, and clarifies all aspects of pollution pertaining to the emissions of waste on land, water and air (this includes emissions from radio active materials). The second method of prevention relies on the imposition of sanctions to punish and deter those who break the law.
In broadly defining ‘pollution’ within section 4.1, it attempts to cover all aspects of environmental hazards, making it easier for the layman to understand that anything abandoned in an inappropriate manner that alters the environment’s original state is considered pollution. Such substances can take the form of solids, gaseous substances and even liquid. It further states that a duty of care exists on the behalf of every individual and group, to protect the environment in transportation of waste, litter control, and levels of noise. Any neglect, carelessness or other breach of this duty will result in criminal punishment regardless of the state of intent.
Mechanisms for control include the necessity for ‘work approvals’ and ‘licenses’ in accordance with the type of work that will take place. The work place itself must comply with rules too, in regards to such factors as the types and quantities of fuels to be used, and how their wastes will be discarded. Any activities that may constitute environmental damage must receive approvals before commencing any work. Non compliance with these rules means huge fines, and sometimes the possibility of business closures.
This act also developed the EPA (sect. 5), the environmental council (sect. 8), and the possibility for third party appeals against bodies that breach their duties of care. The EPA is the department that is in charge of issuing work approvals, and can investigate each application for potential hazards before granting them licenses. Further more, they have the power to request baseline environmental surveys, and certain installations of pollution control equipment. The environmental council on the other hand - in brief - makes recommendations as to direction that should be taken regarding the environment. The third party appeals makes it possible for individuals who feel aggrieved, or affected adversely by certain activities to appeal against licenses being issued, or even act as a sort of ‘watchdog’ against existing bodies that disregard their obligations.
If breaches do exist, and inappropriate discharge of waste is being conducted, fines can be issued up to the value of $20,000, regardless is the body had a license. Aggravated polluters on the other hand, can encounter up to $250,000 in fines (for individuals) or $1,000,000 (for organisations).
The intricate controls created by the 1970 act created a net by which polluters could be stopped before they acted because of the need for a license, and by constant reviews by the EPA. The third party’s ability to appeal gives even more scope in catching offenders. By redefining the meaning of words such as "pollution" and "waste", less loop holes and back doors exist by which people are able to avoid pollution laws. Over all, this act and others like it make it harder for perpetrators to act unlawfully; but regardless a constant watch dog over every aspect of the environment is a hard task to achieve, and to some degree, pollution is unavoidable.