What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
An assessment tool that helps understand the impact of projects on the environment. It is primarily used by the Ministry of Environment before making a decision on passing or rejecting a project proposal.
What has changed with EIA?
Diluted EIA means:
- Simpler and shorter processes for industries to access protected lands like forests, sanctuaries etc.
- Lesser opportunities for citizens to protest developmental projects approved by govt through public consultation.
- Serious threat to wildlife, animal corridors, Tribals and forest dwellers
- Promotes mono culture plantation across terrains to replace rich and diverse forests……… and these are just some of the effects on forests and wildlife.
Few examples of destruction:
Save Mollen National Park, GoaThe Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa are spread across 240 sq km of protected area in the Western Ghats. Together they are home to 721 plant species, 235 bird species, 219 butterfly species, 80 odonate species, 70 mammal species, 75 ant species, 45 reptile species, 44 fish species, 43 fungi species, 27 amphibian species, 24 orchid species, and 18 species of lichens. More so this is an important tiger corridor between Goa and the adjoining Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. In June 2020, MoEF has okayed the cutting of 55,000 trees here for three developmental projects to come up instead.
Image Courtesy: Omkar Dharwadkar
Save Dehing Patkai, AssamDehing Patkai Elephant Reserve is known as the "Amazon of the East". In April,2020 the National Board for Wildlife sanctioned 98.59 hectors of this reserve to a coal mining project.
Image Courtesy: Unsplash
Save Vedanthangal from Shrinking, TNVedanthangal is a bird sanctuary where more than 40,000 birds breed during winter. Recently, the state opened nearly 40% of the sanctuary for commercial use to the likes of SUN pharma.
Image Credit: Yuvan Aves
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has received immense backlash for the draft EIA notification 2020. Despite being in lock down and living through unnatural times, thousands of citizens have submitted their responses online rejecting this move.
Now more than ever there is a collective understanding that development has to be sustainable and inclusive of all life forms. We have until August 11th to protest and show our dissent.