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Environmental Law

Environmental Law Advocates


What is Environmental Law?

Environmental Law  relates to the legal rules concerning the social, economic, philosophical and jurisprudential issues raised by attempts to protect and conserve the environment. It encompasses natural resource conservation and utilisation, as well as land-use planning and development and issues of enforcement.

Environmental law draws on all the formal sources of law including custom and African Customary law. South Africa is party to a number of environmental conventions, and international norms and standards have played a significant role in developing South African domestic environmental law. The Constitution includes an environmental right, as well as a number of other relevant rights. The common law and its principles of neighborliness underly contemporary South African law regulating waste management and pollution control.

Ultimately, the bulk of South African environmental law is contained in statute and regulations at both National and Provincial levels, not to mention local authority by-laws. Some such legislation deals with management of the natural environment generally, such as the National Environmental Management Act, No. 107 of 1998, others, such as the National Water Act, No. 36 of 1998, deal with specific resources, and still further legislation deals with specific waste management or pollution problems – such as the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, No. 59 of 2008, or the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, No. 39 of 2004.