Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process of identifying and evaluating the effects on the environment of impact factors arising from a proposed change in environmental quality. The purpose of an EIA is to determine the potential environmental, social, and health effects of a proposed development. During the process of EIA, various project alternatives are studied and potential adverse and beneficial environmental impacts of the project activities are singled out. Based on this, the project alternative is selected and mitigation measures are identified for the adverse impacts arising out of the activities of the project in order to mitigate the adverse impacts on air, water, soil, flora, and fauna. Thus, through Environment Impact Assessment studies, environmental issues can be identified in advance.
As per the EIA Notification dated 14th September 2006 as amended from time to time, it is mandatory to have Environment Clearance for any new industry or the expansion of the industry from the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi. For this, EIA has to be prepared as per the guidelines given by MoEFCC.
The purpose of this Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study is to provide information on the surroundings and the extent of environmental impacts likely to arise due to this industry or mining project and also to define an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to minimize and mitigate the likely adverse environmental impacts.
The EIA report provides a coherent statement of the potential impacts of a proposal and the measures that will be taken to reduce and remedy them. It contains essential information for:
- The proponent to implement the proposal in an environmentally and socially responsible way;
- The responsible authority to make a decision on the proposal, including the terms and conditions that must be attached to approval or authorization; and
- The public to understand the proposal and its likely impacts on people and the environment and nearby areas.
Understanding the Environmental Impact Assessment
Before making decisions about developmental projects, it is important to assess their potential environmental impact. This process, known as environmental impact assessment, helps identify any negative effects early on in the project planning or design stages. By doing this, we can find ways to minimize harm to the environment and provide alternative options for decision-makers. In India, the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 outlines the methodology for conducting environmental impact assessments.
The Environmental Impact Assessment considers interrelated cultural, socioeconomic, and human health impacts, consisting of adverse impacts. EIA plays a significant role in ensuring that the development takes place in an eco-friendly manner. In this guide, we will closely examine the benefits as well as the procedure of the EIA showcasing the positive impact the assessment can have on the environment as well as the local communities.
By the end of this guide, you will be able to develop a comprehensive understanding of the environmental impact assessment process and its role in sustainable development practices.