From no environmental institutional framework that has addressed

From an analysis of legislation and the administration of environmental
pollution problems in our country, it can be inferred that there has
been no clear policy for dealing with them, and hence no environmental
institutional framework that has addressed the problems in an efficient
manner. This has translated into the fact that most of the legal attributions
were dispersed, located in different sectoral ministries, with no coordinating
entities with sufficient attributions until the creation of the National
Environmental Commission and the Special Commission for the Decontamination
of the Metropolitan Region (in September and April 1990, respectively).
Historical environmental legislation in Chile has evolved as the outcome
of specific approaches aimed at solving specific problems —sometimes
restricted to a single spatial and temporal context— which has meant
that at the present time there are a large number of ad-hoc rules, scattered
in various pieces of legislation and controlled by different state agencies. In
turn, these standards, which might have been appropriate for solving specific
problems in the past, were legislated to be applied throughout the country,
leading to regulations and rules that are inappropriate and inefficient.
Furthermore, from the conceptual and technical point of view, this
body of rules is not consistent in terms of the approaches used. The only
common aspect of the ruling legal framework on the environment is an
excessive reliance on the capacity for control and inspection by the State,
for which reason the current legislation gives a high degree of discretionary
power to public-sector officials. On the other hand, the assignment of responsibility
for control and inspection of environmental pollution is not
matched by a budgetary allocation of the resources needed to adequately
fulfill such a role, with the result that much of the legislation has become a
dead letter.
The history of environmental legislation in Chile can be divided in
two broad stages: before and after the 1980 Constitution. Prior to the promulgation
of the Fundamental Charter and thus of the right to live in a
pollution free environment, the pollution control was based on norms such


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