The curious case of article IX and outer space environment

Gupta, Biswanath and Agasti, Tamoghna (2022) The curious case of article IX and outer space environment. Journal of Environmental Impact and Management Policy, 2 (2). ISSN 2799-113X

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With the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, back in 1957, to life on Earth being socio-economically dependent on space technologies, we have come a very long way and with this comes several problems, one being extra-terrestrial pollution. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty has only one provision – Article IX – which merely puts an obligation to avoid ‘harmful contamination’ of outer space. There is nothing in the treaty or elsewhere to suggest the meaning of this term and the extent of protection offered by Article IX, thereby creating a lacuna. The article tries to evaluate whether the interpretation of the term ‘harmful contamination’ has evolved to envisages the implementation of the international environmental law regime for a holistic protection of the outer space environment.
In this context, the meaning of ‘harmful contamination’ is analysed as intended by the drafters to highlight the shortcomings. Taking into account the evolving international environmental and space law jurisprudence, the article analyses whether the shortcomings can be addressed by harmoniously interpreting Article IX with the existing environmental law regime. Different tools of treaty interpretation are used to examine the evolving interpretation of the term ‘harmful contamination’ to provide an insight into what the lex ferenda be vis-à-vis application of Article IX in the protection of outer space environment.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Environment | Outer Space | Harmful contamination | Article IX |
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Admin Library
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2022 04:24
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2022 03:36
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