What is EIA (Environment Impact Assessment)?
Environment Impact Assessment is a process that evaluates the environmental consequences of a particular project. As a result, we get to know the positive or negative consequences. It helps in decision-making whether a particular project should be implemented or not. EIA is important to the chemical industry and for the industries which use chemical technologies.
Importance of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment)
Environment Impact Assessment is important for the welfare of human beings and the surrounding. In day to day of our lives, thousands of projects are planned. For instance, the construction of buildings, hotels, dams, and coal mines. To implement these projects, trees are been cut down, and it creates pollution. Hence, it is necessary to predict the impact on livelihoods because of the complicated relationship between nature and humans.
Process of EIA
Screening helps to determine and plan things in Environment Impact Assessment. As a result, we get to know whether an EIA is required or not. This step helps to determine whether a particular project is expected to have a significant effect on the environment
Scoping is a crucial step in the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) process as it identifies the issues that are probably important in the whole process. It eliminates those issues which are irrelevant. This stage involves the public and interested parties.
Impact Assessment and Mitigation
Impact assessment is a step which conducts a detailed evaluation of the impact of the project on the environment. These include the measurement of qualitative and quantitative descriptions. And once the assessment gets completed, mitigation measures are identified.
Impact management is a series of plans and arrangement which aims to manage the mitigation measures and as a result, risks are identified which may occur during the lifetime of the project. An important part of this step is developing an EMP, Environmental Management Plan, which acts as a basis over the lifetime of the project.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report is a collection of many important project data, which includes a description of the project, project assessment, and impact management. It consists of relevant information which helps in decision-making.
Review and Licensing
In this step, the EIA report is submitted for review to obtain a license. Based on the quality of the information in the report, a decision is made. And we get to know whether the license should be granted or not.
Monitoring is an important step for project implementation. It provides data regarding environmental impact over the lifetime of the project. Monitoring is carried out by the project proponent, under the guidance and supervision of government agencies.
EIA Draft 2020
Draft Notification 2020 has focused on the development of the county and globalization. The government needs to understand that laws must be strict because EIA is needed for the protection of the environment. Resources are scarce and resources are getting exploited every day by thousands of industries. Pollution is increasing every day because trees are been cut down. As a result, there is more and more pollution every day through vehicles, industries and various other means. If resources get exploited in this manner, one day there won’t be any resources for the consumption of future generations.
Conservation of resources is an important criterion. Globalization is important, still not more than the environment. Roads are constructed by eradicating trees, rivers and other livelihoods. If this continues, water would be scarce, increasing pollution, no rainfall, and climate change. Permitting developers to execute the projects without thinking about the environment would lead to gas leaks and oil spills.
Changes in Draft 2020
- A project can be executed without any prior environmental clearances. And once the project starts, the developer can apply for EIA as per EIA Draft 2020.
- Any violation in the project implementation can be reported either by the government representative or by the violator himself (i.e. suo moto). The public cannot report the violation as per EIA Draft 2020.
- Many large projects are exempted from EIA, which includes inland waterways and national highways as per EIA Draft 2020.
- Earlier, EIA was necessary for more than 20000 sq.m., but it has increased to 150000 sq.m. as per the EIA draft 2020
- No information regarding projects which are strategically important according to the government shall be placed in the public domain.
- The public hearing time has been reduced from 30 days in advance to 20 days.
- Now, the public hearing can be conducted via any mode.
Problems in Draft 2020
The project can be executed without any prior environmental clearances is not acceptable because once the project is implemented, the damage caused cannot be fixed. For instance, the recent Vishakhapatnam gas leak leads to human and environmental loss. If this change is implemented, there would be a huge loss for all the livelihoods.
- We cannot expect, the violator himself would report for his violation, the public must be given a right to report.
- The large-scale projects which are exempted lead to a scarcity of resources.
- The days of the public hearing should be increased because there are thousands of pages in an EIA report. But the days have been reduced in EIA Draft 2020.
- We cannot expect that the tribal or rural people would join the public hearing via any mode.
As a result, this EIA Draft 2020 should not be carried out for the sake of development because instead of strict laws, the laws are getting worse for the environment. If this draft is implemented, the end is near and soon all the resources will get exploited. Also, there will be an increase in number of cases. For instance, a gas leak or an oil spill caused an enormous loss.