Two Environment Justice Cases: In the words of Community Paralegals

I am happy to share with you two articles written by our community paralegals (enviro-legal coordinators) and Program Managers associated with the CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program in India. In their writing they first locate their problem solving efforts in the larger context of the long standing environmental problems in specific parts of coastal Gujarat (India). They then go on to talk about their efforts to get successful environment justice remedies.

The first case which I’ve already posted on discourse in the Paralegals category is by @vimalkalavadiya who started off as an enviro-legal coordinator, and is now a program manager. He describes the efforts, he and his senior colleague @bharatpatel took to successfully to resolve a case impacting fishing livelihoods in the western coast of India. They used the legal empowerment approach to effectively address an instance of illegal bunding that was restricting the access of the fishing community to the inter-tidal fishing area. They worked with evidence, approached the relevant authorities and never lost sight of the ongoing regulatory decisions, even as this matter was pending in court for over 18 months. Here is his blog on http://blog.mylaw.net/how-we-used-the-law-to-reclaim-bavdi-bander/1

The second case relates to Vapi, which is one of toughest areas of work for the EJ program on the Gujarat coast. Manisha Goswami and @bharatpatel together write about the long standing (over two decades old) problems of pollution in Vapi caused due to thousands of chemical and hazardous waste industries. In such a place, getting the government to even acknowledge the problem and take some action has been extremely arduous and difficult. Over the last year and half, as part of the program Manisha, Bharat and the affected fishing community have generated substantial evidence and legal basis for the pollution control board to acknowledge the problem, respond and take action. Manisha and @bharatpatel’s joint article has just been uploaded on http://indiatogether.org/vapi-decades-of-damage-environment. While they are happy this “partial” success they are conscious of pushing the remedy all the way and making an important difference in Vapi.

We look forward to your thoughts, feedback and reactions.

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