- Legislative Decree No. (8) of 1997; and
- Legislative Decree No. (50) of 2002.
- Legislative Decree (47) of 2012.
The powers of the Environmental Agency and the authorized Minister of Environmental Affairs and National Commission for Wildlife Conservation has been assigned to the Supreme Council for Environment, in accordance to Legislative Decree (47) of 2012
LEGISLATIVE DECREE NO. (21) OF 1996
WITH RESPECT TO THE ENVIRONMENT
We, Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Amir of the State of Bahrain,
- having examined the Constitution,
- and Legislative Decree No.16 of 1973 and Amiri Order No.4 of 1975 with respect to the Setting Up of a Central Provisional Municipal Committee for the Administration of the Affairs of Municipalities, as amended,
- and Legislative Decree No.3 of 1975 with respect to Public Health, as amended,
- and Legislative Decree No.13 of 1977 with respect to the Law on Constructional Organisation of Buildings,
- and Legislative Decree No.5 of 1981 Governing Fishing,
- and Legislative Decree No.5 of 1982 with respect to Veterinary Quarantine,
- and Legislative Decree No.20 of 1983 with respect to Agricultural Quarantine,
- and Legislative Decree No.21 of 1983 with respect to Palm Tree Protection,
- and Legislative Decree No.6 of 1984 with respect to the Organisation of Industry,
- and Legislative Decree No.3 of 1985 with respect to the Control of Imported Foodstuffs,
- and Legislative Decree No.11 of 1989 with respect to Pesticides,
- and Legislative Decree No.11 of 1991 with respect to Sewerage Scheme and Surface Water Drainage,
- and Legislative Decree No.10 of 1994 with respect to Combating Smoking,
- and Legislative Decree No.2 of 1995 with respect to Wildlife Protection,
- and Legislative Decree No.11 of 1995 concerning the Protection of artifacts,
- and Decree No.7 of 1980 with respect to the Establishment of the Environment Protection Committee,
- and upon the submission of the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment,
- and having sought the opinion of the Consultative Council,
- and with the approval of the Council of Ministers,
HEREBY ENACTED THE FOLLOWING LAW:
Subject to the rules and provisions set forth in the relevant Laws, the provisions of this Law concerning the environment shall come into effect. This Law aims to protect the environment from the polluting sources and factors, and put an end to its deterioration by drawing up the required plans and policies to preserve it from the harmful effects resulting from activities causing damage to human health, agricultural crops, marine life and wildlife, other natural resources and the climate, and the implementation of such plans, policies, adopt all the appropriate procedures and arrangements to put an end to the deterioration of the environment, prevent or combat all types of environmental pollution and limit such pollution for the benefit of present and future generations through the realisation of consistent development objectives.
"As amended by Legislative Decree No. (47) of 2012"
For the purpose of implementing the provisions of this Law, the following terms shall have meanings assigned against each:
- Environmental Body: The authority empowered with environmental affairs at the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment.
- The Environment: The vital surroundings which include living beings such as human beings, animals, plants and the surrounding air, water and earth, and their contents of solid , liquid and gas materials, various forms of energy or any movable or immovable facilities built by man or in which man works.
- Environmental Protection: It is the preservation of the environment, enhancing its standards, prevent or alleviate the extent of polluting it and ensuring its survival.
- Environmental Pollution: The presence of any of the environment polluting materials or factors in quantities or forms for a certain period which leads directly or indirectly, alone or in reaction with other factors, to upsetting the environmental balance, damaging public health or affecting in any form of the enjoyment of life or benefiting from resources and properties.
- Environmental Deterioration: The effect on any of the natural environmental elements which undermines its historical, cultural or economic value, leading to damages to living beings which live therein or depend thereon or resulting immediately or in future to any damages to the environment or the possibilities of benefitting therefrom or changing their nature.
- Polluting materials and agents: Any solid, liquid, gas, smoke, steam, fume, noise, rays, heat or vibrations caused by man or polluting organisms i.e. rodents, insects, various microbes or any natural phenomena which lead to direct or indirect environmental pollution or deterioration.
- Hazardous materials and waste: Any materials or wastes resulting from industrial operations, chemicals or radiation and acquire the hazardous characteristic because of their contents of materials, material concentrates, chemical reactions, characterised as toxic, having the capability to burst and corrode or any other characteristic resulting in danger to human, animal, plant life or the environment whether alone or when they are in contact with other forms of wastes.
- Licensing Authority: Any authority empowered to issue licences for projects having a likely effect on the environment.
- Person: Any natural or corporate person whether or not he is a juristic entity.
- Project: Any utility, facility or activity likely to be a source of environmental pollution or deterioration.
- Project's Environmental Evaluation: The study or studies being conducted before licensing a project to determine the possible environmental effects, the suitable procedures and measures to prevent or ease the negative effects, or increase the positive effect of the project on the environment.
The Environmental Body shall undertake the issue of resolutions and instructions in all matters relating to the environment and be empowered to execute all the required authorities and powers, particularly the following:
- To draw up plans, policies and to supervise their implementation for the purpose of accomplishing its objectives.
- To participate in drawing up the scientific research policy relating to the environment in co-ordination with the relevant authorities.
- To have the right to request details which it deems essential, from any authority undertaking an activity which may lead to pollution or environmental deterioration.
- To review contracts and agreements which define rights of the environmental body or result in obligations towards the said Body.
- Other powers and duties provided for in this Law.
For the purpose of implementing its objectives, the Environmental Body shall co-operate and co-ordinate with all the relevant authorities to carry out the following:
- To prepare drafts of laws, legislation and to issue regulations which ensure the safety, protection and development of the environment.
- To discuss, study and propose general plans and policies for environmental affairs on the State level.
- To review, discuss and propose plans and policies drawn up by the Ministries, organisations, establishments or companies which are engaged in an activity that may harm the environment, propose answers for any environmental problems or obstacles that may face such programmes and projects.
- To discuss, study and prepare proposals and answers for any matters or problems related to the environment referred by the Council of Ministers, any other official or non-official party in the State.
- To conduct or supervise comprehensive research work or studies about pollution, observe its negative effects on health and the environment, and adopt all preventative measures and possible required methods to limit the environmental pollution of all kinds and prevent environmental deterioration.
- To lay down the required bases to link the environmental considerations with the planning and development policies on the State level through the introduction of the environmental management concept as an integral part of the defined policy for planning, implementing and follow-up of development projects which the government agencies or private sector are executing through evaluating the environmental impact of such projects.
- To exercise control over public and private activities which have a negative effect on the environment.
- To study the nature of soil, water, power and to propose the means to preserve them from deterioration and reduction in quantity through the required regulations to limit their misuse or depletion.
- To study the nature of the coastal areas and marine environment and to propose the protection of their resources, develop and promote them.
- To lay down and promote preventive measures to limit the marine pollution from oil, other harmful materials and activities; to develop and train manpower to carry out plans for combating such pollution.
- To establish an environmental reference laboratory and to provide it with the technical personnel, and required equipment for its operation.
- To decide and control the measures and limits permitted for the emission of materials causing pollution of the environment and their concentration levels.
- To seek to develop interest in educational, information, social and cultural aspects to increase and further develop the environmental awareness to enable the society to take an effective part in accomplishing the desired objectives for protecting and developing the environment.
- To drawing and carry out the required programmes to train and qualify the technical personnel in the field of the environment.
- To conduct a comprehensive survey of the human settlement problems, monitor the development effects of economic and social conditions on the human settlements and their effect on the environment, propose the programmes which provide suitable solutions and to implement them.
- To establish schemes and systems for the collection and analysis of data and information exchange them and benefit from the research institutes, specialized organisations and societies in the field of environmental affairs whether inside the State or abroad.
- To review the international, regional and Pan-Arab agreements concerned with environmental affairs, and to express views with respect to joining them in co-ordination with the relevant authority.
- To co-ordinate with the relevant authorities concerning the relations of the State with international, regional and Arab organisations concerned with environmental affairs.
- To determine the standards relating to the import and dealing in chemical and radioactive materials and to supervise their implementation.
- To lay down the required bases for the proper management of industrial, health and domestic waste.
- To seek to achieve co-ordination on both regional and international levels for ensuring the safety, protection and development of the environment.
The environmental body shall have an experienced and qualified director general in the field of environmental affairs and an Amiri Decree shall be issued for his appointment.
The director general shall handle the technical, administrative and financial affairs in accordance with the provisions of this Law, the Orders and Regulations to be issued by the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment.
It shall not be permitted for any person or project to use the environment in any environment polluting activity, contributing to its deterioration activity, causing damage to the natural resources, living beings, breach, prevent the utilization, use and the proper and reasonable exploitation of the environment.
It shall not be permitted for any person or project to utilize the areas defined by the laws or regulations, determined by the environmental body as protected area or having special environmental considerations for any of the purposes which may lead to violating the provisions of this Law and the orders issued for its implementation.
The various projects shall, in undertaking their activities, ensure not to emit or allow leaking of materials and agents causing environmental pollution exceeding the maximum limits permitted by the Law and the implementing regulations.
The use of machinery, engines or vehicles from which polluting materials or contaminants are discharged or from their exhausts in excess of the limits determined by the Environmental Body, shall not be permitted.
The spraying or use of pesticides or other chemical compounds for agricultural, public health or other purposes shall be prohibited except after considering the conditions, regulations and guarantees determined by the Environmental Body in agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Works and Agriculture so as to guarantee that the environment shall not be directly or indirectly affected, whether at present or in future by the damaging effects of such pesticides or chemical compounds.
All individuals and projects shall undertake upon carrying out excavation, digging, building, demolishing or transporting the resulting debris or earth, to take the necessary precautions and measures to prevent damages to the environment and in particular what relates to the storage, transport and the safe disposal of such debris or earth in the manner determined in the Orders issued by the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment in this respect.
Closed and semi-closed public areas are required to satisfy the proper requirements which are compatible with the number of workers, persons frequenting it, size, capacity and the type of activity undertaken to ensure the proper flow, quality and purity of air, having a suitable temperature and lighting in accordance with the regulations determined by the competent authorities.
All projects, including public buildings and commercial, industrial, tourist and service projects, shall be banned from discharging or disposing of any materials, waste, liquids or carrying out any activity that may lead to causing pollution or deterioration of the marine environment or the adjacent waters. Each day of continuous discharge or prohibited activity shall be considered as a separate violation.
Dealing in hazardous materials and waste without a permit from the Environmental Body, shall be prohibited.
The Ministers, each in his respective capacity, shall in co-ordination with the Minister of Housing, Municipality and Environment, issue a schedule of the above-mentioned hazardous materials and waste.
Persons concerned with the production and dealing in such hazardous materials whether in gas, liquid or solid form, shall comply with all the precautions and conditions determined by the Environmental Body to ensure that no damages occur to the environment.
The owner of the establishment which produces such hazardous materials as a result of its activity in accordance with the provisions of this Law, shall maintain a register for such waste and the manner of their disposal. An Order of the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment shall specify the details to be entered in the said register.
The Environmental Body shall be empowered to follow up such a register to ensure that the details thereof conform with the actual state of affairs.
All projects shall be required to take the necessary precautions and measures to prevent the leakage or emission of materials and polluting agents inside the work area except within the permitted levels as determined by the Environmental Body in co-ordination with the relevant authorities.
For the implementation of the occupational health and occupational safety conditions, such projects shall be required to maintain the necessary protection for workers and to prevent any occupational hazards.
All persons and projects, when undertaking the production, service and other activities especially when operating machinery, equipment, vehicles, using alarm equipment and loud speakers shall not exceed the sound levels permitted in accordance with the limits determined by the Environmental Body.
Various persons and projects shall be prohibited from storing or disposing of waste in any manner which does not comply with the systems, standards and methods laid down by the Environmental Body.
All industrial projects determined by the Environmental Body shall be required to establish waste treatment units for waste resulting from their activities, particularly the hazardous and toxic ones.
Each Ministry or Organisation authorised to issue industrial permits, shall obtain the Environmental Body's approval before issuing permits thereto to ensure the project's safety from the environmental aspect.
The licensee shall abide by the rules and regulations determined by the Environmental Body to prevent any pollution to the environment or limit its deterioration.
Feasibility studies required for various projects which may have environmental effects, shall be required to include a detailed description issued by a specialized organisation about the precautions and means taken into consideration about the possible environmental effect of such projects according to the standards laid down by the Environmental Body.
Extensions and renovations in existing facilities shall be subject to the same provisions provided for in Articles 20 and 21 of this Law.
The Environmental Body shall consult with the concerned government authorities to update the pollution standards and environmental specifications in the light of discoveries, scientific and field studies conducted locally and overseas. Such standards and specifications shall be binding upon all the concerned parties.
New projects or any major alteration to an existing project , shall use the best available technology as determined by the Environmental Body to prevent pollution or to control it with a view to preventing environmental deterioration.
Owners of existing projects shall, upon the coming of this Law into effect, shall provide a study in accordance with the standards determined by the Environmental Body about the environmental pollution caused by such projects and the fighting procedures to be adopted. The Environmental Body shall bind such owners to use the proper technologies to realise this purpose.
The Environmental Body shall, after consulting with the relavantorganisations, reconsider the best technology available to prevent pollution, control it and prevent environmental deterioration.
The Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment shall consider the cessation of work, partial or total operation of any project, prevent the use of any machine, tool or material if the continuation of work on the project or the use of the machine, tool or material is considered as a hazard to the environment.
The cessation or ban shall be permanent or for a certain period to be determined by the Minister in his Order, and may extend such a period or make this cessation or ban on a permanent basis.
The Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment may authorise the Director General of the Environmental Body to issue such a resolution and instruct relevant administrative authority and people concerned to implement it. The temporary cessation or ban order may be for a certain period and certain measures shall be adopted to implement it during this period. All concerned persons may file an objection with the Minister against the cessation or ban decision, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.
An objection shall be forwarded within sixty days from the date of notifying the person making such objection, by a registered letter or from the date being notified therewith.
Deciding upon such objections shall be carried out within the following sixty days of their submission, and the person making the objection shall be advised of the Minister's decision on the objection by a registered letter. If sixty days elapse from the date of filing without receiving an answer from the relevant authority, it shall be considered as rejected.
Any person whose objection has been rejected or considered rejected, shall appeal against the rejection decision before the High Civil Court within the following sixty days from the date of informing him of the rejection decision or being considered as rejected.
The destruction of the habitats and sanctuaries of the marine life, wildlife and plants shall be prohibited. Their types shall be determined by an Order of the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment in conjunction with the Minister of Works and Agriculture, the National Wildlife Protection Committee and the other relevant authorities.
A resolution of the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment in co-ordination with the aforesaid authorities, shall be issued determining the areas which are subject to this Article.
Article 27 (bis)
"Added by Legislative Decree No. (8) of 1997"
Fees shall be charged for the licences issued and services provided by the Environment Body. An Order shall be issued by the Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment determining such fees and the procedures for their collection after securing the prior approval of the Council of Ministers.
The Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment shall designate the required officers for inspection duties required for the implementation of this Law and Orders issued for its implementation and report whatever violations of its provisions and the provisions of the said Orders. Such officers shall have the power to enter the premises where violations are committed, request information, details, draw up reports, take samples and measurements and conduct the required studies to determine the extent of the pollution of the environment, the sources of such pollution and shall ascertain the implementation of the rules and regulations related to the protection of the environment.
The Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment shall delegate any official authorities to exercise the powers referred to in the preceding paragraph.
Without prejudice to any severer punishment provided for in any other Law, every violation of the provisions of Articles 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 27 and 28 of this Law shall be liable for a punishment of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding BD50,000/-,or either penalty and in addition the court is empowered to order the closure of the premises where the work is the source of pollution for a period not exceeding three months. In case of recurrence of the violation, the court may order the cancellation of the licence.
Imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine of no more than BD1,000/- or either penalty, shall be inflicted upon everyone who violates the provisions of Article 3(3).
Inflicting the punishments provided for in this Article shall not bar the court from compelling the offender to pay all the expenses resulting from making good the damage caused to the environment and passing a judgment for compensation due to such damages.
The enforcement of this law shall not prejudice the operation of another Law which regulates the protection of the environment in special areas.
On the other hand, the authorities which enforce such laws or any other authorities having the power to issue rules, regulations and conditions related to the protection of the environment shall obtain the approval of the Environmental Body before issuing such rules, regulations and conditions.
The Environmental Body shall undertake the co-ordination between the relevant authorities concerned with the protection of the environment and shall forge co-operation between them in their respective areas of activities.
Decree No. (7) of 1980 with respect to Establishing the Environment Protection Committee and any other provision that may violate the provisions of this Law or conflict therewith, shall be revoked.
The Minister of Housing, Municipalities and Environment shall issue the implementing Orders and requirements for this Law.
The Ministers, each in his respective capacity, shall implement this Law which shall come into effect one month after the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa,
Amir of the State of Bahrain.
Issued at Rifa'a Palace on: 27th Safar, 1417 Hijra,
corresponding to: 13th July, 1996.