The Department of Environment was created in 1995 for dealing with the task of promoting environmental awareness in the State. The Department is entrusted with the co-ordination of major projects like pollution abatement in the rivers Cauvery, Vaigai and Tamiraparani and in the waterways of Chennai City. The National Lake Conservation Plan, management of Coastal Zone and all other environment protection efforts except those dealt with by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board are the responsibility of this Department. The Department is headed by a Director in the rank of Additional principal Chief Conservator of Forests who is assisted by an Additional Director in the rank of Chief Conservator of Forests.
Environmental Protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on individual, organizational or Governmental levels, for the benefit of both the natural environment and humans. Due to the pressure of population and technology, the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently. This has been recognized and Governments have begun placing restraint on activities that cause environmental degradation. Since the 1960, activity of environmental movement has created awareness about the various dimensions of the varied environmental issues.
Several initiatives have been taken by the Government for pollution abatement in rivers and lakes besides promoting environmental consciousness among the school children and the public at large. Preserving and wherever possible, improving the quality of the environment and nurturing the cultural heritage of the State is an essential ingredient of the Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 document. Environmental preservation would encompass the entire ecological footprint of human activity and it would include increasing forest cover, protection of wetlands, conserving groundwater, rivers and other water bodies, protection of the coastal zones and fragile ecosystems, conservation of the zoological and botanical diversity of the State, protection of soil and other natural formation from abuse on account of human activity, efficient recycling of solid waste ensuring minimal impact on the environment, minimizing atmospheric pollution.
To give importance to the Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held at Rio-de Janeiro in June 1992, the Government has decided to create a separate line Department designated as Department of Environment in the G.O. (Ms.) No.335 E & F (TC.) Department dated 13.10.1995.The Department started functioning from 22.03.1996 for Environmental Management of the State. The Department is co-ordinating in implementation of Major Projects like National Lake Conservation Plan, National River Conservation Plan, Chennai City River Conservation Project in Chennai city and Coastal Regulation Zone activities (CRZ) etc. Apart from this, the Department of Environment focusing all the aspects of Environment other than those dealt with by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.