Mexico’s Environmental Laws for Manufacturing in Mexico
July 30, 2015
Mexico has made laudable steps in the policy and strategies that have been adopted in a bid to protect the environment. This has led to the country being hailed as one of the most progressive nations especially for business entities that plan on establishing or relocating their manufacturing facilities.
Mexico Environmental Regulations
The environmental laws in Mexico have been structured in a manner that seeks to strike a balance between the global requirements and the need for a suitable business environment. With the major influencing factor being the health of the citizens and other residents, the environmental policy has sought to ensure that the air quality in Mexico is fit and does not lead to any health conditions. Further to this, the water quality in Mexico has been taken care of with the primary goal of ensuring that the risk of contracting any air borne or water disease has been reduced to the lowest probability possible.
The Mexico environmental policy in relation to the business community has been addressed and adequately provided for through the North American Free Trade Area Agreements, of which Mexico is a participating member alongside the states of Canada and the United States of America. While the role and responsibility of enforcing the adopted environmental policies has been left to the individual states, there are two exceptions to this general rule. On the one hand, the states are required to strictly comply with the treaties that have been signed and concluded between the states and on the other hand, all the environmental laws that are enacted or adopted should not reduce their standards merely in a bid to promote business investments in that country. This means that Mexico has a responsibility to ensure that the concerns of the environment in terms of the quality are not compromised in any sense. The minimum standards that have been established should be respected and upheld at all times.
Environmental Issues in Mexico
In the current moment, there are federal regulations in relation to the protection of the environment in Mexico. The principal aim of these regulations is to protect the air and water quality in Mexico. It is worth noting that the regulations have a close similarity with the rules that have been set forth and the ones that are applicable in the state of California in the United States of America. The most distinct of the environmental laws and policies in Mexico is the General Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection.
Through the Secretariat of the Environment, Natural Resources as well as Fishing, the Federal Government of Mexico has been conferred the jurisdiction in relation to the environmental matters in the country, both on a residential and commercial level. This is where the Mexico air quality comes in. The acts in question refer to the environmental factors that have been deemed to be wide enough as to relate to the environment on a national scale. These include acts that relate to the disposal of wasteful products from homes and manufacturing companies, acts that have substances that if left unregulated would be hazardous to the health of the public and would also compromise the quality of the air and water in the region as well as acts that have been labeled as being emergencies to the environment. The principal role and responsibility of the secretariat is thus to formulate as well as see the enforcement of the environmental policies in the country.
As an interest to manufacturing industries and their affiliate companies, it is also the secretariat’s role to either deny or grant the authorization and permits that are relevant from an environmental perspective. The environmental policies and laws covers, although not exhaustive in any manner, the following major aspects:
- The protection of the environment by adopting eco-friendly technology in all spheres of manufacturing as much as practically possible.
- The conservation of the natural resources especially those that are exhaustible by the manufacturing companies.
- Formulating impact statements that impact on the environment and those that are aimed at taking care of the environment.
- Coming up with policies, laws, rules and regulation that relate to all aspects of ecological zoning.
- Aspects that relate to the quality of the air and the water which includes the manufacture and use of pesticides, pollutants and any other toxic substances.
The National Environment Institute in Mexico is another integral institution in the country with regard to the environmental matters in the country. The most profound role is the development of an environmental policy as well as the issuance of standards that meet the accepted global standards. It is worth noting that due to the global concern of the extreme effects on the environment by the world community, Mexico has also taken positive steps in order to ensure that it conforms to the set standards especially the protection of the ozone layer for both the present and the current generations. This principle has been cited as one of the leading considerations in the formulation or subsequent adoption of the policies in the Country.
The Institute has also been mandated with the role of coming up with a design, overseeing the implementation process and carrying out assessment strategies for the regulatory framework that is in place. This is for both the programs and the policies that have been identified in matters of environmental conservation. It is to be noted that the Federal Attorney Generalship of Environmental Protection which is commonly abbreviated as PROFEPA has an active role in the enforcement of the policies. The role of PROFEPA in relation to the environmental policies can be summarized as:
- Monitoring the compliance to the set rules and regulation on environmental conservation by the manufacturing companies and residential homes.
- Investigating the claims that have been lodged by any party whether company, individual, governmental or non-governmental on aspects of violation of the environmental codes.
- Resolving the administrative appeals that have been filed on environmental issues.
- Ensuring the promotion of public participation in the formulation of the laws that relate to the environment. This is with the understanding that with public participation, the enforcement process will be easy since it will have the support and backing of the members of the community.
PROFEPA is also tasked with the role of ensuring that the observance of the standards that have been adopted by the institute is done on a strict basis. This is in addition to the laws that have been adopted and enacted by the Mexican Congress. Any violation that has been identified is punishable by the imposition of relevant fines and sanctions to the extent that has been specified by the courts of law with competent jurisdiction or in manner that has been deemed to be adequate for the violation. The public and the business community also deserve to be educated and made aware of all the policies and laws that are in existence in relation to the environmental concerns. This is in light of the fact that ignorance of the law is no defence. Therefore, the business world particularly those that are in the manufacturing process are to be informed of the policies in order to ensure that they are not in violation, whether knowingly or unknowingly at all stages of manufacturing.
In relation to the manufacturing businesses, there are a total of seven categories that have been identified for industrial activities in Mexico. The seven classifications include:
- The public activities that are carried and conducted by the federal government
- The general communication activities and any water works that are carried out in any part of the country
- The transportation of oil, gas and carbon products through both public and private facilities in the country.
- The manufacturing industries that concern themselves with petrochemical and chemical manufacturing. Examples of this include the sugar refineries, the producers of cement and companies involved in the manufacture of automotive parts.
- The extraction and exploration of both mineral as well as non-mineral products.
- The activities that are carried out in a bid to enhance the tourist revenues and activities in the country
- The exploitation of vegetation that has a slow regeneration life in the forests and other protected areas which include tropical jungles.
The law has specified that any emissions that are to be done in the air are to be done in a specified amount, with other substances totally prohibited from being emitted to the air. This is to promote the quality of such air in the country. This is also the applicable procedure in relation to the emissions that are conducted to the various water bodies in the country.
You can find the environmental laws in Mexico in the specific bodies and institutions that have been mandated with providing such information as discussed above. While the environmental laws and policies have been critically discussed, it is worth noting that the responsibility of ensuring compliance as well as protection of the environment lies with all stakeholders, and this is both in the business and non-business world.