Semester: Second Semester Course Convener: Assoc. Professor Melanie Murcott Format: Block Teaching
Development and pollution appear to be inherently linked and the rapid development which has taken place in the past few decades has led to an unprecedented increase in the rate of land, air and water pollution. Land fill sites are full to the brim, alternate sites are in short supply and developing nations have an increasing aversion to being the dumping ground for developed nations’ waste. Atmospheric emissions are changing global climate conditions and impacting on the health and well being of the human population. Water pollution is compounding the water scarcity realities of many countries. It is therefore not surprising that many countries have recently reformed, or are currently reforming, their legal regimes governing land, air and water pollution.
This course examines the domestic legal frameworks that have emerged to regulate land, air and water pollution. These legal frameworks prescribe an array of tools including: institutional arrangements; planning schemes; pollution standards; permitting regimes; trading schemes; duties of care; emergency incident provisions; strict liability; statutory nuisances; rehabilitation orders; incentive-based measures; civil liability measures; and criminal measures. South Africa has one of world’s most contemporary legal regimes regulating pollution and it will be used as a case study through which to critically explore the nature and application of these tools inherent in pollution legislation. These tools have significant implications for those seeking to pollute or curb pollution and the course is accordingly of relevance to domestic legal practitioners, government officials and those working in the NGO sector. Furthermore, given the contemporary nature of South Africa’s pollution regime, the course is of key relevance to foreign students wishing to understand, critique and become involved in the reformation of their own domestic pollution regimes.