Paryavaran Mitra was started because its parent NGO, Janvikas Trust headed by Gagan Sethi, felt the need to dedicate a separate wing to environmental concerns. While this wing was being planned simultaneously a case of a company creating pollution in Panchmahal district, Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd. (GFCL) was taken up and a Public Interest Litigation was filed in Gujarat High Court against the company. During the proceeding of this case it was realized that gathering necessary information and evidences was important to get a positive outcome in such work. GFCL argued that their plant was not responsible for emanating pollution. Poor people and pollution victims of that area failed to prove that GFCL pollution had affected their water sources and livelihood.
After the experience of this case a need was felt for an organization that can systematically work on environment related legal, social and human rights issues. Thus Paryavaran Mitra was born with the objective of creating network of grass root organizations working for environment, setting up monitoring mechanisms for developmental activities harming environment and violating environmental laws and creating awareness about environmental issues.
It began as the Enviro-legal cell of Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) – Janvikas in 1997. In 2001 it became an autonomous organization, Paryavaran Mitra. It continues to be part of Janvikas through governance and financial support.
Collecting polluted water in Ranjit Nagar, a few miles from the fluorochemical-manufacturing plant ( dailymail )