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Principles of environmental impact assessment and environmental management UPSC |Contemporary Issues | Geography of India

  • Earlier, the development project was implemented without much consideration for their environment.
  • Later, sustainable development strategies came which emphasizes the balance between development. environment and people.
  • As per UNDP, the Environment impact assessment( EIA) is a tool to identify the impact of the project on the environment, society, and economy prior to project decision making.

Principles of Environmental impact assessment:

As we know that environmental harm is irreversible and it takes much time to return to the prior stages.

For example,

  • Environment harm due to oil spills such as the death of aquatic organisms can not be reversed.
  • Biodiversity loss due to land fragmentation or industries set up or mining can not be reversed.
  • The cultural impact of the tribal population due to urbanization in tribal areas can not be reversed
  • Changing the pattern of monsoon due to climate changes is not be reversible or it takes time to reverse it.

So it is better to avoid environmental harm and emphasis should be given to the prevention of environmental harm rather than remedies.

EIA can help to overcome these problems and sustainable development.

History of EIA in India:

  • In 1976-77, the river valley project was revied as per environmental perspective.
  • In 1994, Government notified EIA under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
  • It had been made mandatory for more than 30 project categories mostly related to chemicals and nuclear category to get environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and forest.

Ministry of Environment and forest clear the project based on the four major stages:

  • Screening
  • Scoping
  • Public hearing
  • Public appraisal

The following are component of EIA:

Atmospheric assessment:

  • Assess the present quality and predicted quality 
  • Quantity of emission led by project
  • Level of noise present and predicted 
  • Strategy to lower air pollution

Hydrosphere assessment:

  • Exiting surface and groundwater level and predicted future level after project implementation
  • Quality of water present and predicted

Flora and fauna assessment :

  • Present and future situation 

Land and soil assessment:

  • Land uses and soil pollution

Assessment of socio-economic consequences:

  • Effects on the livelihood of the surrounding population
  • Displacement
  • Cultural changes to the surrounding population

For a detailed explanation, watch the below video:

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