As a consequence to the Stockholm Conference (June 1972), the Central Government of India appointed a high powered committee which recommended the creation of the Department of Environment to coordinate the policies on Environment. It came into existence in 1980. However, a new Ministry of Environment and Forests was created in January 1985 which undertook the responsibility of protection and preservation of environment.
In September 1974, an autonomous body entitled ‘Central Pollution Control Board’ (CPCB) was setup by the ministry under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The functions of the Central Pollution Control Board are-
(i) Coordination of the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs).
(ii) Advising the Central Government on all the Matters concerning Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution.
(iii) Executing and enforcing legislation, regulation and guidelines relating to prevention and control of Environmental Pollution.
(iv). Developing rules and regulations for that prescribe the standards for emissions and effluents of air and water pollutants and noise levels.
(v) It provides technical services to the ministry for implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The Central Pollution Control Boards monitor the quality of the freshwater Resources through a network of 784 monitoring stations located all over the country. For this, it works in collaboration of State Pollution Control Boards. Of the 784 monitoring stations are located on rivers, 38 on lakes, 25 on groundwater and are situated on canals, creeks and other water bodies. The CPCB is also monitoring air quality under National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme. For this it has established 290 stations in over 64 cities and towns.
The constitution and functions of the State Boards have been mentioned in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act 1986. These acts have been amended from time to time and various rules framed there under. The Board is expected to execute and ensure proper implementation of Environmental Policy of the Union and the State Governments.
The responsibilities of the State Pollution Control Boards can be classified into four major categories-
1. Enforcement of Environmental Policies, Acts and Rules framed there under.
2. To render necessary advice to the state government and other stake holders on environment related issues.
3. To conduct Environmental Monitoring and research.
4. To create public awareness and to serve as a facilitator on environment related issues.