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The Polluter Pays Principle

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The Polluter Pays Principle implies that persons who are responsible for pollution are made to pay the cost of the measures necessary to avoid or reduce it. Such a principle was generated from the principles of the civil code, i.e. any damages arising from the act/omission of the individual will be liable for environmental damages. Instead of leaving it wide as the civil law does, environmental law, specifies that it is the polluting party and not only who is negligent who has to bear the financial and any other liability. The regulations under the Environment Protection Act (EPA)1 include punishments2 for who degrades the environment. In legal terms who is the polluter? Part 1 Article 2 of the EPA defines the term pollution and since no definition of polluter is established in the Act, such offender can be described as who degrades or pollutes the environment in some way or another as established in article 2 of the EPA. Pollution means the direct or indirect (such as slurry of pigs from a pig farm) introduction by man (only anthropocentric activities are liable to damages - because conversely one can have pollution by animals such as methane from cattle) into the environment of substances, organism, (such as the introduction of an alien specie, which can have a damage effect because it can effect natural flora), genetic material (what is in the nucleus not only chromosomes) ...read more.


the producer bears the liability. In law you have joined responsibility. Therefore the sole responsibility does not only fall on the producer, because the consumer has a choice, that of choosing from non polluting products. However the EPA establishes producer liability, particularly vis-�-vis waste products. Since this act embodies rules on threshold levies of waste6 and quotas7 to cite some examples, it is implicit that who is to breach such provisions and who is to pollute in such cases is the producer. The EPA by taking a broad definition of the word pollution8 and by covering all forms of pollution9 and by establishing that any person who acts in contravention of this act 10 (which tends to signify that by such a contravention harm would be done to the environment) does not allow the degrader of the environment to escape any legal responsibility cioe' liability due to the fact that all types of pollution are sanctioned together with any type of environmental damage. Besides criminal and civil offences the EPA provides for an action for environmental damages. (This means when damages to the environment per se occur and such damages cannot be quantified into money terms). To cite an example the pollution of the spring gives rise to civil damages. In consequence the spring pollution will make a type of specie die. ...read more.


15 However one is to note that the polluter pays principle is not directly enforceable in any court as is explicitly declared in the EPA 16, however such a principle together with others is fundamental and has to be used in the interpretation of the act and any other environmental law. There is no doubt that, as it has been observed from the EPA legal provisions, the polluter is to face heavy fines and may as well face imprisonment. It is quite easy to pollute the sea or destroy a valley. In the case of marine pollution, cleaning is almost always costlier than the imposed fines and building a new valley is impossible. That's why in all things, environmental prevention is always better than cure. 1 Chapter 435 of the Laws of Malta 2 EPA, Article 9(2)(n) 3 EPA, Article 9(2)(n) 4 EPA, Article 9(2)(a) 5 EPA, Article 9(2)(b) 6 EPA, Article 7(b) (v) 7 EPA, Article 9 (2) (j) 8 EPA, Article Part 1 Article 2 9 EPA, Article 4 (h) 10 EPA, Article 9 (2) (n) 11 EPA, Article 24 (2) 12 EPA, Article 26 13 EPA, Article 19 (3) 14 EPA, Article 25 (1)(e) 15 EPA, Article 4 (b) 16 EPA, Article 5 University of Malta Aloysius Bianchi 1 ...read more.

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