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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

EIA -Definition

  • Tool to identify environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making – UNEP

  • In India, Started in 1978-79 by river valley projects

  • EIA has now been made mandatory under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 for 29 categories of developmental activities that involves investments of Rs. 50 crores & more

Stages Involved in EIA

  • Screening

  • Scoping

  • Assessment & Evaluation

  • Report EIA: Non-technical summary for the general audience

  • Review EIS

  • Decision Making: Whether to approve project or not

  • Monitoring, Compliance, Enforcement

  • Environmental Auditing

Which projects fall under EIA?

  • Which can significantly alter the landscape, land use pattern & lead to concentration of working population

  • Which need upstream development activity like assured mineral and forest products supply

  • Which need downstream industrial process development

  • Those involving manufacture, handling and use of hazardous materials

  • Those sited near ecologically sensitive areas, urban centers, hill resorts, places of scientific and religious importance

  • Industrial Estates which could cumulatively cause significant environmental damage

What to Address?

  • Meteorology and air quality

  • Hydrology and water quality

  • Site and its surroundings

  • Occupational safety and health

  • Details of the treatment and disposal of effluents and the methods of alternative uses

  • Transportation of raw material and details of material handling

  • Control equipment and measures proposed to be adopted

Benefits of EIA

  • Environmental benefits

  • Economic benefits

  • Reduced cost and time of project implementation and design

  • Avoided treatment

  • Clean-up costs

  • Impacts of laws and regulations

Procedure

Follow Up

Precautionary Principle: If an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or environment, in the absence of scientific consensus, the burden of proof falls on those taking the action. Part of Rio Declaration & Kyoto Protocol.

Polluter’s Pay Principle: To make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment. Support from OECD and European Community.

Strategic EIA

  • Formalized, systematic & comprehensive process to identify & evaluate environmental consequences of proposed policies, plans or programs

  • Ensure full inclusion

  • Address at earliest possible stage of decision-making on a par with economic & social considerations

  • Can be applied to entire sector