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Even today, people who live in the most heavily industrialized areas tend to suffer more health issues 8 and more longer-term health problems too. It's vital that we clean up the air, water and other aspects of the environment to improve their health. It isn't just the health of current generations about which we need to be concerned. Our children and their children and so on will experience the growing cost of healthcare 9 , sometimes due to environmental reasons, leading to greater instances of some conditions. All over the world, even in countries where there is socialized healthcare, instances of health problems and the costs of implementing a health system continue to increase.

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It is the mission of some environmental health laws to preserve future generations against further costs, the mitigate problems now, for ensuring a healthier populace and environment. We are also seeing new emergent diseases in areas that never experienced them before and greater instances of existing diseases where they are prevalent but controlled.

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Some of the reasons are believed to be ecological in nature with warming air and damper environments encouraging virus replication or the species that carry them such as mosquitoes. In many ways, environmental laws are a form of insurance policy for the future for such things as food and water security , resource protection, energy, and ecological balance Fossil fuels are a depleting resource and though many metals are finite, they could potentially last centuries.

There will come a time when certain resources are gone and that's why it's important to ensure we use as few of them as possible and take out insurance policies. Fishing rights are one of these issues. Overfishing in many parts of the world not just damages our food supply and the industry, but has the potential to upset the ecological balance of the oceans. That's why many countries have agreed to fish quotas. The importance of protecting ecology cannot be overstated. The food chain, the water cycle, our resource security all depend on how well our environment is protected Any upset to this balance such as a resource depletion or removal, the introduction of an invasive species , damaging tree cover and uncontrolled emissions can cause long-term and wide-scale problems for an environment.

We are already seeing the depletion of the ice caps and rising sea levels. Dilution of salts in our oceans can affect the ecological balance of that ocean. We also know that the jet streams and oscillations can change with atmospheric carbon, leading to erratic long-term weather changes which can also cause imbalances elsewhere. Global ecology is a network that transcends national interests and borders.

Of all these issues here, the one that governments are most concerned about - and often used as an excuse for inaction - is the bottom line. But as the OECD states, the cost of inaction have always been far greater The cost to taxpayers and businesses will skyrocket over the coming decades. In the US we are already seeing an increase in cost to our health insurance premiums.

Globally, the cost of property insurance is also increasing as damage from extreme weather conditions increases.

Social Policies for Sustainable Development

Climate change is going to cost us all a lot of money - individually, businesses, and the public funds spent through governments. Environmental protection laws are in place to reduce some of the issues mentioned above such as protecting our health, but also to mitigate potential future costs of addressing them. This is an issue where prevention is better than cure. How do we future-proof our world for future generations to enjoy the same levels of prosperity and health that the rest of us have enjoyed for generations? The answer to that is to enact environmental laws that attempt to preserve and protect the status quo where they are beneficial and to tackle the harm and damage being done for long-term sustainability.

This will apply to food and water security for everyone. Many of the refugee problems of this current decade are considered the result of environmental disasters. Even with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, many point to erratic weather and climate has having been a forcing on the political instability along with other issues not related to environment that have been discussed repeatedly.

Learn more about environmental law degrees. It came into being in and sets out provisions for regulating air emissions within our borders from all potential sources of aerial pollution. The Clean Water Act : Just seven years after the Clean Air Act, the EPA is also responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards for similar laws designed to ensure our waterways are as clean and as healthy as possible.

The provisions of the Clean Water Act means it is illegal for any person or entity to discharge pollutants into navigable waters within the borders and interests of the US without a special permit.

There were also issues of toxic spills and accidents. CERCLA covers all of these issues and makes available a Federal superfund for cleaning up such spills and mitigating problems. It also grants the EPA powers to locate the responsible people or organization and demand their action under the Polluter Pays principle while granting the EPA power to recover costs of all actions. It made provisions for aiding local communities to protect their health and safety of their land, and to ensure neither suffer at the hands of toxic chemicals.

It requires states to create and maintain a SERC State Emergency Response Commission divided by districts with individual committees LEPCs responsible for openness on information regarding chemical hazards in their area. Endangered Species Act : Nearly every country has one of these now as well as international laws and designations for cross-border co-operation on conservation. This Act came into being in with the aim of setting out special protections for species at risk of extinction.

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The idea was to conserve and to increase population numbers - a measure that has mixed success. Under this Act, they are responsible for the licensing of all pesticides and herbicides in agricultural use, and are empowered to prohibit the sale or other distribution and use of such substances. This power is usually enforced when demonstrated to play an active part in being damaging to health or affecting the survival rates of endangered or threatened species. Farmers and others who need to legitimately acquire pesticides for use must register as buyers and pass an exam.

National Environmental Policy Act : Coming into force in one year before EPA's foundation NEPA requires Federal government administrations consider the potential environmental consequences before engaging in any Federal government action that might have an environmental impact. This applies to public works such as bridgebuilding, public highways, urban development, oil pipelines on public land and many other projects.

Part of this addresses the environment such as the use and storage of toxic and hazardous substances on certain sites. It is as much about protecting the wider environment and public health as it is about protecting the user or handler's health. Pollution Prevention Act : Prevention is always better than cure and the PPA attempts to set down a code, standards, regulations and laws on what to do to prevent environmental accidents.

This seeks to reduce the number and amount of pollutants in the skies of the US by altering the processes of production and operating of those things that contain pollutants. The aim is to mitigate potential future problems by enforcing changes in production - proactive rather than reactive.

Public Policies for Environmental Protection

This has been vital to improving general public health in the last few decades. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act : Another law that comes under the jurisdiction of the EPA, it is designed to oversee the generation of potentially toxic and hazardous waste, as well as its transportation, storage and treatment where necessary, and finally any disposal measures required. This also applies to non-hazardous waste. It is designed to complement CERCLA see above and cover gaps in its authority for a robust framework of legislation on waste management and storage.

Several amendments have been made in that time - the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments in to phase out land disposal of hazardous waste, and general RCRA amendments in to address concerns of subterranean storage. Clean water is seen as a human right's issue internationally and the key to a high standard of public health. These are not enforced as they are not related to health, but the negative scent and color could discourage people from consuming it This law reauthorized CERCLA see above to continue to pursue cleanup efforts and addressed specific issues that were arising through the process of that action.

Toxic Substances Control Act : TSCA came into effect in to put in place a framework of screening chemical substances for potential hazards and problems before they become available in a chosen market. They also track chemicals that may pose a threat to health or environment, and for guidance on cleanup procedures following a leak or other contamination. There are so many international environmental laws that it's difficult to list them all to cover the multitude of areas that they cover.

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However, here is a list of the most common agreements made across borders. It was signed by 46 states and the 28 European Union member states, coming into force on the 30 th October Its main provision is the granting of the right of information of environmental issues to citizens of signatory nations.

Biological Weapons Convention : Understanding that the use of biological weapons harm human health and have long-term effects on ecology, the BWC was the first agreement to completely ban a specific type of weapon. It became effective in and in has over signatories. Convention on Biological Diversity : Maintaining conservation and promoting biodiversity is just one of three major components to this treaty, the other two being: sustainability of natural resources, and equity in benefit sharing. It came into effect in Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources : the world's last continent was already subject to international protection and an agreement that no one country could claim it Antarctic Treaty when this convention in put in place protections for its unique marine ecology to protect environmental integrity.

Similar conventions exist in other ecologically rich and delicate areas around the globe. While countries manage and fish their own stocks within their own borders and waters, shared rights exist in international waters. International co-operation for the conservation of marine species on the high seas.


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Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution : Air pollution in one country is rarely limited in its effects to that one country. Air pollution requires international agreement to tackle and control. Virtually all northern hemisphere countries are signatories or have ratified this convention. Their aim is to monitor all issues concerning climate change and to suggest treaties and laws for mitigation and reduction of the global temperature. US-Canada Air Quality Agreement : This treaty involving just two countries was designed in the s and came into effect in That was its major reason for being, but it addressed several issues in the need to create a healthy environment in North America.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer : The s and s were critical to many changes in international standards. However, wage policies may affect the allocation of labour between sectors. Moreover, if large differentials between urban and rural wages result, they may lead to an unwanted acceleration of rural-urban migration, with concomitant problems of urban congestion and pollution. Also of concern is the issue of rural unemployment, whether overt or hidden, existing in some countries. In countries where social welfare programs are not well developed, under-employment or unemployment among rural or urban workers is a serious threat to sustainable livelihoods.

While solutions may be sought in the medium to longer run by encouraging economic growth and the development of labour-intensive industries, in the short run, relief measures may be needed.


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Such works can be used to conserve or enhance the resource base, for example through afforestation programs or public works to control soil erosion. Aspects of employment policy relating to human resource development are discussed later. In part, this is a matter of creating an environment that is 'friendly' towards private investors. Too many barriers for the entry of foreign investors will deter the international flow of capital, as will too strict rules on the repatriation of profits. Similarly, both economic instability and social unrest will deter all investors, foreign or local.

On the other hand, investments can be devastating for SARD if investors do not have to pay for negative externalities they cause e. Clearly, measures need to be in place either to prevent such negative externalities, or to make investors pay for them. The importance of avoiding interventions that cause financial repression and so deny would-be investors, especially those in rural areas, access to credit markets has already been discussed.

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Public Policies for Environmental Protection

Because public funds are always limited, direct government investment should be allocated to areas where market failure leads to underinvestment. Such areas include investments in human capital i. Building human capital for sustainability is likely to require substantial government investments in health services, education and training.

Similarly, public investments may be needed in open access resources such as many fisheries and some forests, as well as in state-owned resources such as rural infrastructure. See Bromley and Cernea for a discussion of the different types of resource property regimes. For SARD, an appropriate proportion of such improvements needs to be directed to rural areas where these services are typically very inferior to those in the cities.

Common property and open access resources important for SARD may include fisheries, forests, and water supplies. Some state property, such as public roads, also has open access characteristics. Because individual private investors are seldom able to capture for themselves all the benefits from investments in open access resources, there is often a need for intervention.