Prelims level : E & BD Mains level : GS III - Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
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Why in news:

  • The SC in a recent judgement observed, that the health of the environment is key to preserving the right to life and suspended the environmental clearance granted for an international airport at Mopa in Goa.
  • It said a glaring deficiency which emerges from the Environmental Impact Assessment report is its failure to notice the existence of ecologically sensitive zones of Western Ghats within a buffer distance of 10 km of the project site.
  • It granted liberty to the Goa government, project proponent and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to file the report of
  • the EAC before it so as to facilitate the passing of appropriate orders in the proceedings and held that no other court or tribunal should entertain any challenge to the report.

Environment Impact Assessment:

  • EIA reports are a critical component of India’s environmental decision-making process in that they are supposed to be a detailed study of the potential impacts of proposed projects. Based  on                 these reports, the             Environment                  Ministry      or      other     relevant regulatory bodies may or may not grant approval to a project.
  • The EIA reports are also important to define measures that the project could take in order to contain or offset project impacts. To ensure that they are an accurate account of scientific facts and observations, the law mandates the engagement of an accredited independent EIA consultant to undertake the study.

What are recent concerns with EIA:

  • The EIA reports of the redevelopment projects are an exercise in the worst possible research practices and ethics. Recently the consultant for a project has used material from copyrighted papers, webpages and other EIA reports. It even mentions that the water quality study was undertaken in 2015, one year before the project was commissioned to NBCC.
  • Such research practices in EIAs continue
  • unabated because of the Environment Ministry’s failure to come down heavily on this.
  • There are many instances of missing or misleading information which understate the potential impact of these projects.
  • The report is also oblivious to the many archaeological and cultural heritage sites that will be affected by the construction
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