This law establishes the fundamental principles relating to environmental protection and aims to promote the sustainable management of natural resources, to prevent risks, to control all forms of pollution, and to improve the quality of life of populations while respecting ecological balance. Pollutants are defined as solid, liquid or gaseous elements or discharges, any waste, odour, heat, sound, vibration, radiation or a combination of these which may cause pollution.
This law calls for the adoption of procedural mechanisms and requires all operators of classified facilities governed by a licensing scheme to implement them. Featured mechanisms include strategic environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment, public consultation and environmental auditing. These are aimed at ensuring better environmental management and protection before, during and after the operation of an activity likely to generate environmental impacts.
Article 21 requires projects that are likely to generate environmental impacts to undergo environmental and social impact assessment, project appraisal and develop an environmental and social management plan.
Article 23 states that the ministry responsible for the environment has the authority to conduct environmental audits on any project or activity that presents a potential risk for the environment and population.
Article 37 requires that industrial facilities that may present environmental, safety or health hazards be categorised according to the severity of the associated risks. Classified installations are subject to the payment of pertaining taxes, including a pollution tax.
Furthermore, this law states that the different levels of government shall take, within the limits of their respective powers, necessary measures for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It also sets out penalties and sanctions for non-compliance.