LOCUS STANDI – A CONUNDRUM IN ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS PROTECTION: WILL THE ANSWER COME FROM THE SUPREME COURT OR CONSTITUTION MAKING PROCESS?
‗A planet in peril‘ this sentiment arose after former U.S Vice-President Albert Gore Jnr advocated for the cause of climate change in his acclaimed biography ‗An inconvenient Truth‘. The words ‗a planet in peril‘ echo resoundingly across the pillars of this earth and everywhere peoples are suddenly faced with the realization that the protection of the environment must form a cornerstone of national and even global policy. It is with this ambition in mind that over the years the world‗s leaders have gathered in the metropolis of the world - Stockholm in 1982, Rio in 1992 and more recently Copenhagen in 2009 to lay out the path for saving our ailing planet. Whilst these conventions have contributed enormously to the cause of environmental protection, Zimbabwe, one feels, has lagged behind in terms of legislative initiative.
One‘s arena of particular interest is that of locus standi - the ability of an individual to use the law as a remedy to enforce the right to a clean and safe environment. This article will focus on the ability or lack of it thereof for private citizens to mount litigation to protect the environment and will aim to show how the stringent provisions existing in our law have proved to be a stumbling block in the enforcement of environmental rights. After an assessment of this, one will point out the possible remedies to this problem. One will look at the possibility that the Supreme Court may do away with the requirements of locus standi as they currently stand or take it upon itself to extend the right to life provision in section 12 of the current constitution to encompass environmental rights. Another solution which will be taken up is the ability of the ongoing constitution making process to include environmental rights in the constitution making them justiciable, as well as an exhibition of the pros of such a move. In furtherance of this, the author will rope in examples of other jurisdictions as supporting proof of the possible solutions that will be offered.
Locus standi in judicio can be defined strictly as legal standing before the courts. A more understandable explanation of this is that it is the ability of a person or organisation to sue or to be sued. In most cases in Zimbabwe one need only be an adult above the age of 18 years old and mentally competent in the case of human beings or to be a duly recognised legal entity in the case of organizations, to be able to be regarded as having locus standi. However, where one attempts to assert their environmental rights the playing field becomes much, much steeper.
Before one proceeds it must be understood that there are two ways that a right is granted. It is either granted through the constitution by its inclusion in the bill of rights or it may be conferred by statute. Environmental rights are nowhere to be found within the constitution and the Environmental Management Act‘s section 41 merely mentions the kind of environment that one is entitled to and the rest of the act goes on to dwell on policy considerations and the framework for environmental protection. The most that it does is to place criminal sanction on water pollution and makes the polluter liable to clean up the pollution and pay compensation to affected third parties.2
In as much as the act tries police pollution and grant victims compensation it seems that only the Environmental Management Agency may launch actions on behalf of the society and impose fines and the average citizen can only claim compensation (where specifically granted such as section 57 of EMA supra). This leaves the act looking like another piece of legislation more concerned with outlining legal aspirations rather than legal accountability. Hence, for citizens the statutory route is limited and the only route open is that of common law, particularly civil action....
...The term locusstandi is the term for the ability of a party to appear in the court and to be heard by the court. No doubt, the court vested its discretion to refuse or to allow him or her to proceed in the proceeding. However, any persons of the following would be sufficient to provide a complaint with a standing:-
1. he or she has a particular grievance of his or her own
2. he or she is a member of the public who has been inconvenienced
3. a mere stranger
There are three locusstandi requirements. Firstly, the plaintiff must suffered injury. The injury could be economic or non-economic. Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, so that the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant and not the result of the independent action of some third party who is not before the court. In the case of Massachusetts v EnvironmentalProtection Agency, where the Supreme Court on the view that global warming caused by EPA’s refusal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions satisfied element of causation for Massachusetts’s alleged injury of loss of coastland. The last requirement is redressability. It must be likely that the court decision will redress the injury.
In the case of Long Pines Enterprise Sdn Bhd v Beeran Kutty Bin Yusof where plaintiff applied to remove private caveat lodged by defendant. The fact of the case is...
...engineer must be able to work across many different disciplines and fields--and make the connections that will lead to deeper insights, more creative solutions, and getting things done. In a poetic sense, paraphrasing the words of Italo Calvino (1988), the engineer must be adept at correlating exactitude with chaos to bring visions into focus.
How can we create a sustainable community?
There are many definitions and there are many different ways for communities to attain a more sustainable future. The sustainability of a community depends on creating and maintaining its economic and environmental health, promoting social equity, and fostering broad-based citizen participation in planning and implementation. Communities that engage citizens and institutions to develop sustainability principles and a collective vision for the future and that apply an integrative approach to environmental, economic, and social goals are generally likely to be more successful.
Job creation, energy use, housing, transportation, education and health are considered complementary parts of the whole. Since all issues are interconnected they must be addressed as a system. The process includes:
• broad and diverse involvement of citizens
• the creation of a collective vision for the future
• the development of principles of sustainability
• an inventory of existing assets and resources and additional assets that would benefit the community
...About environmentalprotection in China
Nowadays in China, one issue is getting more and more severe as the increasing development of China’s economy, that is, environmental pollutions. Starting with air pollution, along with water pollution and soil pollution, China is currently facing the most serious problems than ever before. Establishing of many industrial factories has made China a top share in manufacturing. However, neglecting of protecting the environment while developing manufacturing has already resulted in lots of problems, such as the PM2.5 problem in many major cities, as well as the extreme lack of clean drinking water. On the other hand, concerns over global environmental issues, such as global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, trans-boundary movement of acid rain, and hazardous waste, etc., are mounting worldwide.
About 25 years ago, a law named EnvironmentalProtection Law of the People's Republic of China, which set out basic principles and directions for formulating environmental policies, was enacted on December 26, 1989. This Law was formulated for the purpose of protecting and improving people's environment and the ecological environment, preventing and controlling pollution and other public hazards, safeguarding human health and facilitating the development of socialist modernization. The law has stated that...
...Engineers in EnvironmentalProtection
Industrialization has brought untold wealth and has transformed the way of life in the last century. Industrialization and urbanization have become a global phenomenon, resulting in serious environmental problems such as resource depletion, climate change, and pollution. Large scale use of natural recourses, their polluting processes and transport infrastructure have exacerbated theenvironmental problems. Since the beginning of industrialization humankind has been utilizing natural resources-coal, oil, gas, water, minerals-at an accelerating rate. Energy resources are an obvious example of limited resources whose uses have major impact on environment in the form of emission of harmful gases and other wastes and also, inevitably, generates carbon dioxide, a gas which plays a key role in the greenhouse ‘global warming’ effect. Rivers are polluted by factories and becoming a health hazard. The dumping of industrial waste into streams is resulting contaminating clean water supplies. There were reports of rivers that had turned orange or had caught on fire, the smog over some cities was becoming intolerable, and there were signs of negative health consequences from buried waste. Environmental concerns have become increasingly central to social policy. The roles of governments in relation to environmental issue are becoming extremely...
...The importance of environmentalprotectionEnvironmentalprotection is an increasingly pressing issue all over the world.
Ozone depletion, green house effect, global climate changes or global warming, etc, are the main issues in environment.
Recent years, many countries and various organizations have paid more attention into environmentalprotection.
A treaty about globalenvironmentalprotection was discussed by 192 nations in Copenhagen in December 2011.
But I fell every individual on this earth should make sacrifices to prevent environment changes.
Yes it is the need of the hour.
We should protect the world for the future generations.
It is because of mans greed he has the once beahtiful earth into a rubbish of Earth.
He has increased his numbers to terrible proportions,
has caused the death of hundreds of species of animals,
has robbed and destroyed the planet in his search for fuels;
now he stands, like a violent, spoilt child, delighted at the speed of his rise to power,
It is he who is on the edge of the final mass destruction and of killing all the life which exists in the solar system.
The Earth is our home but much of it is dirty and dying.
Rapid industrial development caused a lot of ecological problems.
They are: air pollution, water pollution, growth of population and shortage of...
We live in a world full of different ecological problems. People have invented so many new devices and factories, that nature is in danger. Unfortunately, environment is not the unlimited source of resources. At the moment, our planet suffers from numerous problems and damages. For example, acid rain, which is the result of waste gases from power stations. Such rains cause forest damages.
Other big problems are water shortage and the destroying ozone layer. It is all the result of pollution that comes from factories. Another big issue is global warming and green house effect. Global warming is an increase in world temperature caused by an increase in carbon dioxide. The seas are also in danger. They are filled with poison: industrial, chemical, nuclear waste. Every ten minutes one kind of animal, plant or insect dies out for ever.
As you can see, there is a long list of environmental problems, which need to be solved. People should start dealing with these problems immediately. First of all, people should switch to alternative forms of power, such as wind power or solar energy. Secondly, the use of nuclear power should be banned. Thirdly, we should start to recycle. It’s the art of turning waste into new products. Also the number of harmful plants should be reduced because they pollute the air and water greatly. It would be a good idea if people started using bicycles instead of cars. We are obliged...
...them from pests. These chemicals are called pesticides. Scientists have found that pesticides often end up in our food and they can cause health problems - especially for kids. The seas are in danger. They are filled with poison : industrial, chemical, nuclear waste. Every ten minutes one kind of animal, plant or insect dies out for ever. And if nothing is done our earth will die in about 30 years from now. So what can we do to protect our environment ? I think that we should recycle our used things, we should plant more trees, we should not waste resources but try save them, we also must make smoke from factories and car's fumes more clean, we must not dump industrial waste to seas and rivers ...Now people are beginning to realize that environmental problems are not somebody else's. They make different organization, whose aim is conservation. For example " GREEN PEACE ", " FRIEND OF THE EARTH " and others. Everyday millions people from all over the world do everything to protect our environment, and they need for our help. I think we ought to help them, just to make our future better....
Intro: Some people say that the government should be more responsible for damage done to the environment by harmful corporations. A reason behind this maybe is that the government holds all the supremacy. Other people disagree and say that the government should not be responsible for protecting environments for damaging corporations. Other people may say this since the government has many other problems that are at a higher priority. The government should be more responsible for protecting the environment from environmentally damaging corporations.
Con1: First of all, People that are opposed to environmentalprotection provided from the government against damaging corporations may say that the government should be more concerned for the economy. They argue that economic growth should be the government’s main priority toward big corporations. They are practically saying that that as long as our country has a stable economy, then the environment shouldn’t matter. For example, these big corporations bring in at least 2.5 million dollars to our economy every year. Large corporations providing at least one million jobs, to those that need to provide for themselves and others. The big corporation seems to boost our economy up by at least 13% in past studies. They feel that money is the most important thing when compared to the environment.
Con2: Not only do the opponents of...