Legal basis to environmental protection

Legal basis to environmental protection

The Mejlis of Turkmenistan adopted the law "On environmental safety" four years ago in June. In this regard, the editorial board of the "Golden Age" interviewed Chief Specialist of the Department of Environmental Protection and Hydrometeorology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan, Mergen Kepbanov.

- Mergen, before the adoption of the law "On environmental safety" in June 2017, other legal acts were in force that regulated legal problems in this area. What caused the need to adopt a new legal act and what is its relevance?

- Indeed, different legal norms, programs and plans were in force in Turkmenistan at that time. However, the initiatives put forward by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov regarding a particularly attentive attitude to the problems of environmental protection, demanded a broader, more comprehensive and integrated approach to solve them. Environmental protection, ecological safety have become one of the main directions of the state policy of Turkmenistan. With the adoption of the new law, for the first time, it was possible to reflect the main issues in the field of environmental safety in a single document. 

- What legal norms first appeared in the new law?

- Previously missing legal categories appeared in the law, such as “environmental quality”, “favorable environment”, “negative impact on environment”, “negative impact on public health”, “environmental risk” and others.

The inclusion of these legal norms in the law has significantly contributed to the implementation of the constitutional provisions that every individual has the right to a favorable environment for life and health. In addition, for the first time, the law has stipulated that each of us have the right to receive reliable information about environment status, about compensation for harm caused to health and property because of violation of environmental legislation or natural disasters.

- It is fair that the government and the laws adopted by the Mejlis of Turkmenistan pay particular attention to a person and people’s health. However, various organizations and economic enterprises most often cause irreparable damage to environment. What does the new law provide for such entities?

- State policy and norms laid down in the new law provide for a systematic decrease in the level of environmental hazard. This is one of the few "constantly working" laws. It stipulates the requirements for business entities that have a direct or indirect impact on environment. If a potential danger arises from their side, then environmental and legal organizations are given the right to verify compliance with existing requirements.

- What determines the level of environmental hazard, and what is the responsibility for violations in this area?

- The degree of environmental hazard is assessed by an audit in accordance with the law "On Environmental Audit". In this case, licensing documents, various certificates, etc. are subject to verification. According to the law, persons who causes damage to environment, public health and property are obliged to compensate for damage in full. In addition, a decision may be made to restrict, suspend, terminate or re-profile the economic and other activities of legal entities and individuals who have committed violations.

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