Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and destructive.
How to define environmental impact assessment (EIA)
- Development tasks in the past undertook without any consideration to their Environmental Impacts. As a result, the complete surroundings got polluted and degraded.
- In view of the large harm to the surroundings, governments and the public are actually worried about the environmental influences of developmental activities. Hence, the government assesses the environmental impacts, the mechanism of EIA turned into introduced.
- Environmental Impact Assessment is a tool to anticipate the likely environmental impacts that may arise out of the proposed developmental activities. It was introduced in India in 1978, with respect to river valley projects.
- Later the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation enhanced to include other developmental sections since 1941.
- Environmental Assessment comes under Notification on EIA of developmental projects 1994 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- This is now mandatory for 30 categories of projects, and these projects get Environmental Clearance (EC) only after the EIA requirements are fulfilled.
- Besides EIA, the Government of India under Environment (Protection) Act 1986 issued a number of other notifications, which are related to environmental impact assessment.
- Impact Assessment Agency in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India is granting an Environmental clearance or the ‘go ahead’ signal.
All projects that require clearance from central government can be broadly categorized into the subsequent
- Thermal power plant
- River valley project
- CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) and
- Nuclear power projects.
Projects that need require clearance from central government
Nuclear power and related projects such as heavy water plants, nuclear fuel complex, rare earth.
River valley projects including hydel power, major irrigation and their combination including flood control.
Ports, harbours, airports (except minor ports and harbours).
Petroleum refineries including crude and product pipelines.
Chemical fertilizers (Such as Nitrogenous and Phosphatic other than single superphosphate).
Petrochemical complexes (both olefinic and aromatic).
Chemical intermediates such as DMT, Caprolactam, LAB etc.
production of basic plastics such as LDPE, HDPE, PP, PVC.
Bulk drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Exploration for oil and gas and their production, transportation, and storage.
Synthetic rubber, Asbestos and asbestos products, Hydrocyanic acid and its derivatives, Primary metallurgical industries, and Chloralkali industry.
Integrated paint complex including the manufacture of resins and basic raw materials required in the manufacture of paints.
Viscose staple fibre and filament yarn and Storage batteries integrated with manufacture of oxides of lead and lead antimony alloy.
All tourism projects between 200-500 meters of High Water Line and at locations with an elevation of more than 1000 meters with the investment of more than Rs. 5 crores.
Thermal power plants and Mining projects (with lease more than 5 hectares).
Highway projects except projects relating to improvement work including widening and strengthening of roads with marginal land acquisition along the existing alignments provided.
It does not pass through ecologically sensitive areas such as National Parks, Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves, Reserve Forests.
Tarred roads in the Himalayas and forest areas.
Raw skins and hide.
Pulp, paper and newsprint and Dyes.
Cement, Foundries (Individual), Electroplating and Meta aminophenol.
The important aspects of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
1. risk assessment, 2. environmental management and 3. post product monitoring.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to serve as a primary environmental tool with clear terms. It is equally important to Apply consistently to all proposals with potential environmental impacts. EIA uses scientific practice and suggests strategies for mitigation. Address all possible factors such as short term, long term, small scale, and large scale effects. Consider sustainable aspects such as a capacity for assimilation, carrying capacity, biodiversity protection. Lay down a flexible approach for public involvement. EIA has an inbuilt mechanism of follow up and feedback as well as include mechanisms for monitoring, auditing and evaluation.
In order to carry out an environmental impact assessment, the following are essential:
1. Analysis of existing environmental status.
2. Assessment of various factors of the ecosystem (air, water, land, biological).
3. Analysis of adverse environmental impacts of the proposed project.
4. Impact on people in the neighborhood.
Benefits of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- EIA provides a cost-effective method to eliminate or minimize the adverse impact of developmental projects.
- Environmental Impact Assessment enables the decision makers to analyze the effect of developmental activities on the environment well before the developmental project is implemented.
- In addition, EIA encourages the adaptation of mitigation strategies in the developmental plan.
- As a result, it makes sure that the developmental plan is environmentally sound and within limits of the capacity of absorption and regeneration of the ecosystem.
- EIA links the environment with development.
Altogether, the goal is to ensure environmentally safe and sustainable development.