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Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Kalasa- Banduri project.

For Mains: All about EIA.

 

Context: State-level officers tasked with environmental assessment have objected to several clauses in a draft law that proposes the creation of district-level environment impact assessment authorities.

 

What’s the issue?

The proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2019, makes the District Magistrate (DM) the chairperson of an expert authority, or the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA), that will accord environment clearance for “minor” mining projects.

District Magistrate (DM) in the State is also the ‘District Mining officer’ who is tasked with executing mining licence deeds. These officers usually had a “target” to collect revenues from mining activities. Making the DM the chairman (of the DEIAA) would be self-serving for grant of environmental clearance.

 

About EIA:

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is a formal process used to predict the environmental consequences of any development project. Environment Impact Assessment in India is statutory backed by the Environment Protection Act in 1986, which contains various provisions on EIA methodology and process.

 

Rationale behind EIA: EIA looks into various problems, conflicts and natural resource constraints which may not only affect the viability of a project but also predict if a project might harm to the people, their land, livelihoods and environment. Once these potential harmful impacts are predicted, the EIA process identifies the measures to minimize those impacts.

The objective of the EIA is to: Identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to taking a decision on its implementation. Mitigation of harmful impacts and maximizes the beneficial effects.

Once the assessment is complete, the EIA findings are communicated to all stakeholders viz. developers, investors, regulators, planners, politicians, affected communities etc. On the basis of the conclusion of EIA process, the government can decide if a project should be given environment clearance or not. The developers and investors can also shape the project in such a way that its harms can be mitigated and benefits can be maximized.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

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