In many areas relating to the environment, there are no relevant laws, which leaves responsibility up to the individual. This means that governments are reliant on voluntary changes in behaviour as well as a number of education and incentive programs.
In the area of pollution and waste, the primary responsibility of individuals is set out in the General Environmental Duty in section 25 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA), which states that:
A person must not undertake an activity that pollutes, or might pollute, the environment unless the person takes all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent or minimise any resulting environmental harm.
Whilst a breach of this duty does not create a criminal offence, it can lead to action being taken against a person by other private individuals or a government agency. These include Environment Protection Orders and Clean-up Orders.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.