Environment Impact Assessment or EIA can be defined as the study to predict the effect of a proposed activity/project on the environment. A decision making tool, EIA compares various alternatives for a project and seeks to identify the one which represents the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits.
AIM OF EIA: It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers. The stages of an EIA process will depend upon the requirements of the country or donor. However, most EIA processes have a common structure and the application of the main stages is a basic standard of good practice. The environment impact assessment consists of eight steps with each step equally important in determining the overall performance of the project.
Typically, the EIA process begins with screening to ensure time and resources are directed at the proposals that matter environmentally and ends with some form of follow up on the implementation of the decisions and actions taken as a result of an EIA report. The eight steps of the EIA process are presented in brief below: Screening, Scoping, Impact Analysis, Mitigation, Reporting, Review of EIA, Decision Making, Post Monitoring.
EIA in India – Formal legislation for EIA. It has been enacted by making an amendment in the Environment Protection Act 1986. Limited involvement of public and government agencies in the initial phases. No provision in place to cover landscape and visual impacts in the Indian EIA regulations. Screening done on the basis of a defined list. Threshold values on the size of the project have been used to decide whether the project will be cleared by the state government or the central government. Earlier scoping was done by consultant or proponent with an inclination towards meeting pollution control requirements, rather than addressing the full range of potential environmental impacts from a proposed development. However, the new notification has put the onus of scoping on the expert committee based on the information provided by the proponent. Consultation with public is optional and depends on the discretion of the expert committee. In India too, EIA review is not upto the marks. The review agency called Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) lacks inter-disciplinary capacity. No representation of NGO in IAA, which is a violation of the EIA notification. Most reports in English and not in the local language. In some case, executive summary is translated into local language. Preparation of EIA is done by consultants. Therefore, the selection criterion for the organisation is fees/cost rather than the expertise of EIA team. The consideration of alternatives in developing countries is more or less absent.
Environment Impact Assessment is a very beneficial step to check, whether the project is environment friendly or not.
Since economic development is result of interaction between natural resources and technology supported by designed for people. So all human activity should be economic, social and environment friendly. The government has assured that it will strive to strike a balance between the environmental and developmental concerns. As and when the EIA is finalised, it is expected to incorporate the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in a balanced manner.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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