Transcript of "Introducing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)"
A PROCESS for decision-making, not a formula for preparing a document.
What is the purpose of EIA?
Here are a few answers—for example:
1. “To encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his
environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage
to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare
of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and
natural resources important to the Nation.”
2. “To implement a strategy of sustainable development, prevent adverse
impact on the environment after the implementation of plans and
construction projects, and promote coordinated development of the
economy, society, and environment.”
3. “To allow government officials, business leaders, and all concerned
citizens to understand the likely environmental consequences of
proposed actions, and to cooperate in making wise decisions that
restore and maintain the quality of our shared environment for future
4. “To LOOK before you LEAP!”
The effects of actions that are not accounted for in the
normal market transactions need to be considered
explicitly in the decision-making processes on projects.
These effects are to be identified, assessed, and
evaluated against the economic advantages arising out
of the given action.
In this context, the EIA studies are considered to
be the first step in this process because they
give an opportunity to man to consider the
effects of his actions on the environment.
The Goal of EIA is to harmonise developmental
activities with the environmental concerns.
The EIA process allows for the communication of
potential environmental problems to:
(a) the project proponent
(b) the regulatory agencies
(c) all stakeholders and interest groups
To foresee the potential environmental problems that would
arise out of a proposed development and address them in the
planning and design stage of the Project.
Objectives of EIA
1- What will happen as a result of the project?
2- What will be the extent of the changes?
3- Do the changes matter?
4- What can be done about them?
5- How can decision makers be informed of what
needs to be done?
The EIA becomes a cyclic process of asking and
further asking the first four questions until
decision makers can be offered workable
Evolution & History of EIA
Development of EIA
Pre-1970 Limited consideration given to environmental consequences
Early/ Mid 1970’s EIA introduced by NEPA in 1970 in US
Standard methodologies for impact analysis developed
During 1973-1974 Canada, Australia and New Zealand too adopted
Australia legislated whereas Canada and New Zealand followed
Late 1970 & Early 1980’s Other Industrial and Developing countries introduced formal EIA
France in 1976, Philippines in 1977, Netherlands in 1978 introduced
Use of EA by developing countries( Brazil, China & Indonesia)
Coordination of EA with land use planning process
Mid 1980’s to end of
European council directive on EIA establishes procedural requirements
must for all its member states
Spread of EIA in Asia
World Bank and other leading aid agencies establishes EIA
1990’s Increase use of GIS and other information technologies
India adopted EIA formally
Formulation EA legislation by many developing countries
1. Human health and safety
2. Flora, fauna, ecosystems and
3. Soil, water, air, climate and
4. Use of land, natural resources
and raw materials
5. Protected areas and sites of
6. Heritage, recreation and amenity
7. Livelihood, lifestyle and well
being of affected communities
Environment refers to the surroundings in which a
project is planned, implemented and operates
The Term environment includes
Land & Soil
Forests or other
1. EIA must be undertaken EARLY in the development of proposed projects, plans,
and programs, and must be completed BEFORE a decision to proceed is made.
2. EIA must be an OBJECTIVE, IMPARTIAL analytical process, not a way of
promoting or “selling” a proposal to decision-makers—it must use accepted
scientific principles and methods.
3. EIA must analyze all REASONABLY FORESEEABLE environmental impacts or
effects of a proposed action— effects may be short-term, long-term, direct, or
4. The process of EIA must be OPEN – to government officials at all levels, to
potential stakeholders (those with direct interests in the proposed action), and
to the PUBLIC.
5. There must be an early, public SCOPING stage in EIA to consider
ALTERNATIVES and to help focus subsequent analysis on the MORE
SIGNIFICANT potential impacts – rather than studying all possible
environmental effects—the GOAL is to reach a decision.
6. Government officials responsible for implementing EIA must ENCOURAGE
(not just tolerate) PUBLIC PARTICIPATION in the process from the scoping
7. In all EIA processes, effective MITIGATION MEASURES must be identified and
included—to avoid, minimize, or reduce the adverse effects of all potentially
8. EIA reports must include an ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS)
or Action Plan to MONITOR the implementation phase of the project, plan, or
program and provide for CORRECTIVE actions—such action plans must have
assured FUNDING and be legally enforceable.
1. Start with a COOPERATIVE attitude: your goal is to HELP the persons
responsible to use the EIA process to benefit BOTH environment and
2. LEARN as much as possible about the proposal before forming your opinions;
IDENTIFY the responsible persons and agencies; ASK them for all available
information so that you are well-informed.
3. IDENTIFY yourself and your organization; tell officials that you want to
participate in the EIA process as soon as it begins—also tell them WHY you
want to participate and HOW you can contribute to making the process
USEFUL for them.
4. Be polite, but also be persistent—the new EIA law gives you both the RIGHT
and the RESPONSIBILITY to be a participant.
5. Do not claim to be an expert on complex issues if you are not—try to
CONSULT OTHERS who have special knowledge and skills.
6. Whenever you raise an environmental PROBLEM, offer a possible
SOLUTION —an alternative strategy, or location, or design, etc.
7. Provide officials with specific COMMENTS and RECOMMENDATIONS from
your NGO in writing, as EARLY in the decision process as possible.
8. STAY INVOLVED in the process, even if your position and your
recommendations are not initially accepted. Continue to make your
concerns known to all in a RESPECTFUL but PERSUASIVE manner.
Environmental clearance from the Central Government is required for 32
categories of developmental projects broadly categorized under the
following industrial sectors
EIA Scenario in India
2. Thermal power plants
3. River valley
4. Infrastructure (road, highway, ports, harbours and airports)
5. Industries including very small electroplating or foundry units
Certain activities permissible under the Coastal Regulation Zone Act, 1991 also
require similar clearance.
Donor agencies operating in India like the World Bank and the ADB have a different
set of requirements for giving environmental clearance to projects that are funded
List of projects requiring environmental clearance
1. Nuclear power and related projects such as heavy water plants, nuclear fuel complex, rare
2. River valley projects including hydro power, major irrigation and their combination
including flood control (even if investment is less than 100 cr but command area is
more than 10,000 ha).
3. Ports, harbours and airports (except minor ports and harbours).
4. Petroleum refineries including crude and product pipelines.
5. Chemical fertilizers (nitrogenous and phosphatic other than single super phosphate).
6. Pesticides (technical) and intermediates.
7. Petrochemical complexes (both Olefinic and Aromatic) and petro-chemical intermediates
such as DMT, Caprolactam, LAB, etc., and production of basic plastics such as LLDPE,
HDPE, PP, PVC.
8. Bulk drugs and pharmaceuticals and intermediates.
9. Exploration for oil and gas and their production, transportation and storage.
10. Synthetic rubber.
11. Asbestos and asbestos products.
12. Hydrocyanic acid and its derivatives.
13. (a) Primary metallurgical industries (such as production of Iron and Steel, Aluminum,
Copper, Zinc, Lead and Ferro Alloys), (b) Electric arc furnaces (Mini steel plants).
14. Chloral alkali industry.
15. Integrated paint complex including manufacture of resins and basic raw materials required
in the manufacture of paints.
16. Viscose staple fibred and filament yarn.
17. Storage batteries integrated with manufacture of oxides of Lead and Lead Antimony alloys.
18. All tourism projects between 200 m and 500 m of high water line and at locations with an
elevation of more than 1000 m with investment of more than Rs. 5 cr.
19. Thermal power plants.
20. Mining projects (major minerals) with leases more than 5 ha.
21. 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 national parks,
sanctuaries, tiger reserves and reserve forests).
24. Raw skins and hides
25. Pulp, paper and newsprint.
26. Dyes and intermediates.
28. Foundries (individual).
30. Meta amino phenol (added in 2000).
31. New townships, industrial townships, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hotel
complexes, hospitals, office complexes for 1000 persons and above or discharging sewage
of 50,000 l/day and above or with an investment of Rs. 50 cr and above (added in
32. New industrial estates having an area of 50 ha and above and the industrial estates
irrespective of area if their pollution potential is high (added in 2004).2. Tarred roads in the
Himalayas and or forest areas.
2. Scoping and consideration of alternatives
3. Baseline data collection
4. Impact prediction
5. Assessment of alternatives, delineation of mitigation measures
and environmental impact statement
6. Public hearing
7. Environment Management Plan
8. Decision making
9. Monitoring the clearance conditions
EIA Process in India
Schedule III of EIA Notification, 1994
Composition of the expert committees for EIA
1. The committee will consist of experts in the following fields:
i. Eco-system management
ii. Air/water pollution control
iii. Water resource management
iv. Flora/fauna conservation and management
v. Land use planning
vi. Social sciences/rehabilitation
vii. Project appraisal
ix. Environmental health
x. Subject area specialist
xi. Representatives of NGOs/persons concerned with environmental issues
2. The chairman will be an outstanding and experienced ecologist or environmentalist
or technical professional with wide managerial experience in relevant development sector.
3. The representative of IA will act as a member secretary.
4. Chairman and members will serve in their individual capacities except those
specifically nominated as representative.
5. The membership of the committee shall not exceed.
Centre for Science and Environment, 2006, Introduction to Environment Impact Assessment, Industry &
Environment Unit report, New Delhi, India
Jay, S, Jones, C, Slinn, P & Wood, C, 2007, ‘Environmental impact assessment :retrospect and prospect’,
Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol 27, pp 287-300
Murthy, A & Patra, HS, 2005, Environment impact assessment process in India and the drawbacks,
Environment conservation team report, Bhubaneshwar, India
Sinha,S,1998, ‘Environmental impact assessment: an effective management tool’, TERI Information Monitor
on Environmental Science, vol 3, pp 1-7
George, C,1999, ‘Testing for sustainable development through environmental assessment’, Environmental
Impact Assessment Review, vol 19, pp 175-200
Lawrence,DP, 2007, ‘Impact significance determination—Back to basics, Environmental Impact
Assessment Review, vol 27, pp 755-769
McCaig, K,2005, ‘Canadian insights: The challenges of an integrated environmental assessment
framework’, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol 25, pp 737-746
Paliwal,R,2006, ‘EIA practice in India and its evaluation using precaution and efficiency?’, Environmental
Impact Assessment Review, vol 26, pp 359-376
Snell, T & Cowell, R,2006, ‘Scoping in environmental impact assessment: Balancing SWOT analysis’,
Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol 26, pp 492-510