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Note for Environmental Impact Assessment Management - EIAM by MD WESH KARNI

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Unit 3: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Lecture 3 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) STRUCTURE Overview Learning Objectives 3.1 Introduction to EIA 3.1.1 Purposes of EIA 3.1.2 Steps in EIA process 3.1.3 Hierarchy in EIA 3.1.4 Environmental impact statement (EIS) 3.1.5 Impact indicators 3.2 Evolution of EIA 3.2.1 Evolution of EIA worldwide 3.2.2 Evolution of EIA in India 3.3 Forecasting Environmental Changes 3.4 Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) 3.4.1 Rationale and scope 3.4.2 Overview of SEA process 3.4.3 Benefits and constraints 3.5 Environmental Clearance Procedure in India Summary Suggested Readings Model Answers to Learning Activities OVERVIEW In Unit 1, we introduced you to some of the environmental management tools. One such tool we mentioned in that context was environmental impact assessment (EIA). In the present Unit, i.e., Unit 3, we will discuss EIA in detail. We will begin the Unit by explaining what EIA entails. We will then give you an account of EIA evolution in the world over. We will also discuss how EIA can be used to predict environmental changes and introduce strategic environmental assessment (SEA). We will close the Unit by listing 95

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Environment Management some of the environmental clearance procedures in practice in India. LEARNING OBJECTIVES After completing this Unit, you should be able to: discuss environmental impact assessment (EIA) as an environmental management tool; trace the evolution of EIA; discuss what forecasting of environmental changes entails; explain strategic environmental assessment (SEA); list and comply with the environmental clearance procedures in India; plan and carry out an environmental impact assessment study. 3.1 INTRODUCTION TO EIA Environment assessment involves a study to determine any unique environmental attributes from endangered species to existing hazardous waste to historical significance. Environment Assessment procedure ensures consideration of environmental implications before making a final decision of assessing the environmental attribute. Process of assessment analyses the effects on environment and is useful for reporting those effects undertaking a public consultation exercise and lastly it reveals decision to public after reviewing the comment of the report. One of the main strengths of environmental assessment (EA) is its flexibility. Project planning processes can integrate EA as 96

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Unit 3: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) essential step giving sensitivity to the social and economic as well as environmental impacts of projects. In this way project managers can compensate shortcomings in the project planning process. For example, a project which failed to adequately consult the community at the outset can take advantage of the Environment Assessment to involve the community in a necessary exchange of ideas and views. The EA can help establish and strengthen decision-making and communication mechanisms within a project. It can also pave the way for introducing innovations. An EA may reveal sound environmental, social or economic reasons for shifting a project's direction. In view of the primacy accorded the opinions and aspirations of local people, the EA process may also function as a project control mechanism. While the EA should not be expected to correct all the weaknesses of a flawed planning process, when properly designed and executed, it can be a valuable tool for project implementation. When the role of the EA is more restricted, the situation can work in reverse. Other project planning activities can be used to gather necessary information for the EA and to create support for the EA process. Each project manager must decide how much importance to accord each planning. Duration for EA will hinge on [http://www.gdrc.org/uem/emgmt/2.html]: The size and complexity of the proposed project. The extent of co-operation received from the project sponsor and third parties such as local government. The level of interest and support demonstrated by the community. The ability of the project team to sustain interest in the EA. 97

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Environment Management The skills of the EA team. The EA techniques employed. In principle, environmental assessment can be undertaken for Individual projects such as a dam, motorway, airport or factory and call it as 'Environmental Impact Assessment' (EIA). Plans, programs and policies and call it as 'Strategic Environmental Assessment'(SEA). These two sections are discussed in detail in the further sections In recent years, there has been a remarkable growth of interest in environmental issues, sustainability and the better management of development in harmony with the environment. Associated with this growth of interest has been the introduction of new legislation, emanating from national and international agencies (e.g., the European Commission) that seek to influence the relationship between development and environment. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an important example. It is defined as an activity designed to identify and predict the impact of legislative proposals, policies, programmes, projects and operational procedures on the bio-geophysical environment and on the health and well being of human beings and to interpret and communicate information about the impact. That is to say, EIA focuses on problems, conflicts or natural resource constraints that could affect the viability of a project. It also examines implications of a project that might harm people, their homeland or their livelihoods, or other nearby developments. After predicting the problems, a EIA identifies measures to minimise the problems and outlines ways to improve the project’s suitability for its proposed environment. In the last three decades, 98

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