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Tutorial 1


Environment impact assessment

Question 1 define the Environment impact assessment

Environment assessment involves a study to determine any unique
environmental attributes from endangered species to existing hazardous waste to
historical significance.
The international association for impact assessment (IAIA) defines
environmental impact assessment(EIA) as the process of identifying ,
predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant
effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and
commitments made.(Principle of environmental impacts assessment best
practice. IAIA, 1999)
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool used to identify the
environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making.
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. By
using EIA both environmental and economic benefits can be achieved, such as
reduced cost and time of project implementation and design, avoided
treatment/clean-up costs and impacts of laws and regulations.

EIA helps the decision makers to identify the likely effects at an early stage and to
improve the quality of project planning and decision making. It is a process used to
predict the environmental consequences of proposed major measures to reduce
adverse impacts.
An EIA attempts to answer the following questions
1. What will be happen as a result of project?

2. What will be the extent of the change?

3. Do you change matter?
4. What can be done about them?
And these answers are achieved through the following steps;
1. Identifying of impacts.
2. Prediction of significance of causes and effects of impacts
3. Evaluation of the predicted adverse impacts to determine whether they are
significant enough to warrant mitigation.
4. Suggesting a wide range of measures to prevent, reduce or remedy those
adverse impacts which warrant mitigation
5. Documentation of the process and conclusion.
EIA involves determining the current status of the baseline environment and
identifying impact of proposed activities on it.
It also includes carrying out Environmental Cost Benefit Analysis of projects at an
initial stage as well as drawing environmental linkages
It is required in view of the fact that the community at large is always considered
as of deterioration of life.
Based on the EIA studies an environmental Management Plan (EMP) is drawn to
ensure mitigation planning and impact monitoring.
Initially EIA was associated with industrial projects but due to sudden spurt in
infrastructure projects scope of EIA has been extended to include such projects

Question 2 write a short note on evolution of eye responding to change

Answer large number of development projects historically have encountered
serious difficulties on being executed due to giving inadequate attention to the
relationship with the surrounding environment.

Therefore worldwide numbers of project have been found to be unsustainable

because of their impact on environment. Many of them have to face public
opposition and even been many other problems like natural disasters.
Given this experience, its very risky to undertake finance or approve a major
project so as to minimize adverse impacts.
This was the basis for the development of a mechanism between 1970-75 in USA
which came to be known as environmental impact assessment (EIA). It was later
adopted by other countries, e.g. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
The role for EIA was formally recognized at the earth summit held at Rio
conference in 1992. Rio declaration states that
EIA as a national instrument shall be undertaken for the proposes activity
that are likely to have significant adverse impact on the environment and are
subjected to a decision of a competent national authority.
This lead to strengthening of EIA framework and integration of EIA practice with
other processes. (E.g. project appraisal, land planning). The concepts as post EIA
monitoring and other follow-up mechanisms were introduced. Many more
countries adopted EIA.
Evolution of EIA in India started with the participation of late Smt. Indira Gandhi
in the UN conference on human environment in 1972
In 1976-77 for the first time river valley projects were scrutinized from
environmental angle.
Late environmental scrutiny was extended to cover those projects, which required
approval of the public investment board, administrative decisions, and legislative
It was in 1986 that Environment (protection) act was enacted that for the first time
provided an umbrella legislation to take care of wide range of environments issues.
On 27.01.1994 Ministry of Environment& forests (MOEF) under the EPA1986,
promulgated an notification S.O.60(E) making Environment Clearance (EC)
mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new
projects 30 projects were covered
List of projects requiring EC from the central government
1. Nuclear power and related projects such as heavy water plants, nuclear fuel
complex, rare earths.

2. River valley projects including hydelpower, major irrigation and their

combination including flood control.
3. Ports, harbors and airports
4. Petroleum refineries including crude and product pipelines.
5. Chemical fertilizers
6. Pesticides(technical)
7. Petroleum complexes and petro chemical intermediates such as DMT, LAB
8. Bulk drugs and pharmaceutical
9. All tourism projects between 200m-500m of high water line and location
with an elevation of monument.
10.Mining projects with leases more than 5ha.
11.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 Natural parks, sanctuaries, Tiger reserve forests
12.Tarred roads in the Himalayas and forest areas
13.Raw sinks and hides.
On 07.07.2004 the EIA notification S.O.60 (E) dated 27.01.1994 was amended
and EC was made mandatory for infrastructure projects as
(1) Any construction project including new township, industry, settlement
colony, commercial complexes, hotel complexes, hospitals and office
complexes with a population of more than 1000 persons or discharging
sewage of 50000 liters per day or more or with an investment of Rs.
50,00,00,000/- or more or and

(2) Any industrial estate accommodating industrial units in an area of 50ha or

more but excluding industrial status irrespective of area if their pollution
potential is high.
The EIA notification of 1994 was having two major drawbacks:
The application were approaching for environmental clearance after
obtaining clearances from a large number of authorities including
pollution control boards and thus their rejection was a contentious issue
The entire process was centralized at the level of the central government
and for a country as diverse as India, it proper representation on the issue
to authorities.

EIA notification of 1994 was thus withdrawn and replaced with a new
notification in September, 2006[ISO 1533E 14.9.2006]
EIA NOTIFICATION 14.9.2006: key policy changes
Made it clear that application for environmental clearance can be
made just on identification of prospective sites
Further delegated power to state level authorities to grant EC and
accordingly categorized the projects into Category-A and CategoryB.
Category B projects are to be cleared at the level of states whereas
the category A projects will be cleared at the level of central
Sept. 2006, notification further covers a large number of
infrastructure projects namely airports, harbors highways,
ropeways, construction projects, and area development projects.

Q3. The timeline of EIA should match with that of Project Cycle.
A3. The objective of EIA is to foresee the potential environmental problems that
may arise out of a proposed development and evaluate and address them in the
project's initial stages viz. planning and design. EIA should integrate the
environmental concerns in the developmental activities right at the time of
initiating for preparing the feasibility report. This would enable the integration of
environmental concerns and mitigation measures along the project development.
It is important that the timeline of EIA matches that of Project Cycle so that
1. The potential environmental problems are foreseen and avoided at an early
stage in planning cycle so as to forestall and pre-empt the problems.
2. The focus and attention is optimized towards the issues throughout, which
would help in integrating the planning and design process with consideration
to EIA and help make better and economical choices.
3. Alternative solutions or design measures can be identified to avoid or
minimize problems and ways to improve environmental performance of a
proposal or project can be outlined.

4. Stumbling blocks are avoided viz. problem(s) cropping up at late stage of the
project life cycle, such as detailed design and construction stage, when
limited solution space is there.
5. Costly mistakes are avoided. These, for instance may include the
accommodation of mitigation measures after construction phase which may
be economically ruinous; or disastrous impacts or mal-effects which may
cause damage to life and property.
6. There are no uncertainties and delays at any stage of the project.
7. The project runs smoothly and public comments and objections are

Site selection, environmental

Screening, initial
Scoping of significant issues.

Project Concept

Monitoring and


Integration of
timeline of
project cycle
with EIA

Monitoring and Audit,

rectify adverse impacts,
Lessons for future

Detailed assessment of
significant impacts,
Identification of
mitigation needs, input to
Cost/benefit analysis


Design and

Implementation of
Mitigation measures and
Environmental strategy

Detailed design of

Q4. Write a note on usefulness of operating principles of EIA.

A4. The main operating principles of EIA along their usefulness are described
below1. EIA should be applied to all projects with significant impacts. Level of any
EIA review should commensurate with the importance of the issues raised
by a proposal. Potentially significant adverse impacts on the environment
may be; for example, on human health and safety, rare or endangered
species, protected areas, fragile or valued ecosystems, biological diversity,
air and water quality, or the lifestyle and livelihood of local communities.
2. EIA should begin early in the project. This is important so that; the potential
environmental problems are foreseen and avoided at an early stage in
planning cycle so as to forestall and pre-empt the problems; the focus and
attention is optimized towards the issues throughout, which would help in
integrating the planning and design process with consideration to EIA and
help make better and economical choices; alternative solutions or design
measures can be identified to avoid or minimize problems and ways to
improve environmental performance of a proposal or project can be
outlined; costly mistakes are avoided. These, for instance may include the
accommodation of mitigation measures after construction phase which may
be economically ruinous; or disastrous impacts or mal-effects which may
cause damage to life and property;
3. EIA should address relevant environmental, social and health impacts. This
is one of the most important purposes of carrying out an EIA. Hence the
performance of the project on the stated issues and parameters along with
quality control is necessary for assurance of stakeholders.
4. EIA should identify and take account of the public views. This serves to obtain local and traditional knowledge that may be useful for decision

making; reduce conflicts by identification and resolution of contentious

issues; facilitate consideration of alternatives, mitigation measures and tradeoffs; create a sense of ownership of the proposal among the public; ensure
important impacts do not go unnoticed and the benefits are maximized;
improve transparency and accountability of decision making; and build
public confidence.
5. EIA should result in a statement of impacts and mitigation measures. The
study should culminate into formal, legal documents like Terms of
Reference (TOR) and EIA report which explicitly state the potential
environmental impacts and mitigation measures. It should be supplemented
with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent
towards environmental improvements. The EMP is a crucial input to
monitoring the clearance conditions and hence details of monitoring should
be included in the EMP.
6. EIA should facilitate informed decision making and condition setting. An
EIA report should provide clear information to the decision-maker on the
different environmental scenarios without the project, with the project and
with project alternatives. Uncertainties should be clearly reflected in the EIA
report. Law requires that the public must be informed and consulted on a
proposed development after the conclusion of EIA report. Any one likely to
be affected by the proposed project is entitled to have an open access to the
executive summary of the EIA.

Q5.EIA does not cause delays in project" .Comment with specific reasons for
ANS: various reasons for delays

Various projects on which environmental impact assessment was not done

have been found to be unsustainable because of their impacts on

environment .Many have been abandoned because of public opposition and

many have been the cause of disastrous accidents. This has caused delays in
the projects.
When decision to do EIA is done at the later stage of project then the
recommendations made by the EIA may necessitate the redesign of some
project components, require further studies, and suggest changes which alter
the economic viability of the project or cause a delay in project
implementation. Thus, it can involve large indirect costs.
Effective public participation in projects is also essential because they are
the one which are affected and public opposition causes the delay and court
procedures may get involved.
Projects are delayed when the environmental clearance is not provided in
time by the government departments due to red tapism, corruption.
Projects are delayed when the funds required to carry out EIA are not
available on time.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) experience in India indicates
that the lack of timely availability of reliable and authentic environmental
data has been a major bottle neck in achieving the full benefits of EIA.

The EIA process makes sure that environmental issues are raised when a project
or plan is first discussed and that all concerns are addressed as a project gains
momentum through to implementation.
EIA also helps in getting funding through banks as the banks are assured that their
investments will be fruitful.
EIA have a neutral influence on the length of the decision making process. In
fact, the more organized approach makes EIA more efficient and in some cases it
allows issues to be picked up earlier. The EIA can thus speed up the system.