The issue of environmental protection has brought the consumers, the industry, and the government to a common platform where each has to play its own role. The government and legislatures are using their influence to reduce environmental and health hazards due to industrialisation and to stimulate the development of clean(er) technologies. However, the environment is under tremendous stress from rapid industrialisation, unplanned urbanisation and changing consumption patterns in the race to achieve better living standards. It is amply clear that regulatory actions by pollution control agencies alone can not restore the environment to its pristine state. Pro-active and promotional roles should also be geared up in harmony with the overall environmental protection strategy. The time has come for consumers to take the lead in prompting manufacturers to adopt clean and eco-friendly technologies and environmentally-safe disposal of used products, along with preventive and mitigative approaches.

To increase consumer awareness, the Government of India launched the eco-labelling scheme known as `Ecomark' in 1991 for easy identification of environment-friendly products. Any product which is made, used or disposed of in a way that significantly reduces the harm it would otherwise cause the environment could be considered as Environment-Friendly Product.

The criteria follows a cradle-to-grave approach, i.e. from raw material extraction, to manufacturing, and to disposal. The 'Ecomark' label is awarded to consumer goods which meet the specified environmental criteria and the quality requirements of Indian Standards. Any product with the Ecomark will be the right environmental choice.

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