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CENTER FOR CONTINUTING EDUCATION,
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE,
MAYURESH SURESH AMRALE
based on online chat session coordinated by
Ms. Christie, Ms. Arashpreet and Ms. Babitha
on 29th & 3rd Sept., 2016
Assignments based on discussion Page 2
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT: GENERAL PROCEDURES
Experiencing the side effects of haphazard unplanned growth & exploitation of
resources compelled nations to adopt tools for addressing environmental issues. The
introduction of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) integrated environmental planning
with sustainable development approach; which evolved over the years through global
awareness. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be defined as a study of the effects of a
proposed project, plan or program on the environment.
For regaining the economic losses post World Wars encouraged development banks
which implemented EIA processes for the preparation and approval of various developments
projects across the globe; mainly in developing countries. This then adopted as statutory
requirement for every development project. EIA generally covers Social Impact Assessment
(community), Health (quality of life) Impact Assessment, and Strategic (broader sustainable
development) Environmental Assessment.
EIA following multidisciplinary approach; considers & studies impacts on the natural,
social, economic and human environment. Prior to EIA, proponent or consultant sets out the
terms to be considered or examined when carrying out an EIA; these are called Terms of
The pre examination of the significant impacts, the scale of impacts & mitigation
mechanisms during the Screening process is carried out generating Initial Environmental
Scoping identifies the key issues, parties, their affected interests of concern at an early
stage of planning process. It can be carried out by tools like Checklists, Matrices, Networks and
Collection of background information on the biophysical, social and economic settings of
proposed project area through field samplings, interviews, surveys from the period of project
inception is carried out to provide a description of the current status and trends of
environmental factors like air, water, noise, population, biodiversity.
Then, quantitative (Magnitude, Extent) & qualitative (Duration, Significance) predictions
of impact based on the available environmental baseline of the project area are proposed by
Experiments, Professional judgment, Past experience, Numerical calculations, mathematical
models, GIS, Risk assessment, or Economic valuation.
Assignments based on discussion Page 3
Upon identification of possible impacts, the various mechanisms like Avoid (alternate
site), Replace (raw materials), Reduce (waste generation), Restore (restoration of damage), and
Compensate (Relocation/Compensation for affected) can be adopted to mitigate the impacts.
Monitoring of the Baseline data, Impacts and Compliances to mitigate the same is then
practiced over a period of duration.
Considering the overall study of the above particulars, a report called as Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) is generated with the detailed description of project as Summary,
Impacts, analysis of alternatives, mitigation plan, and environmental monitoring plan. The EIS is
submitted to designate authority for scrutiny for technical review before the panel. The panel
determines the quality of EIS and gives the public further opportunity to comment. Based on the
outcome of the review, the authority will accept, reject or make further modifications to avoid
future confrontation. If the EIS is accepted, an EIA license is issued and if otherwise, additional
studies or recommendations are made.
Environmental Impact Assessment has now become an integral part of project planning.
EIA can be Comprehensive EIA which considers all the seasons of the year or it can be
for a single season terming it as Rapid EIA.
THE DRAWBACKS OF EIA IN INDIA:
Statutory norms in “Environment impact Assessment Notification”, for some industries
(which impact the environment more or less) relaxes the necessity of EIA preparation as
per its screening & scoping directives.
The scale of the project & thereby its impact is evaluated based on the total project cost
which is irrelevant to assessment.
The selection of expert committee members observed to be biased or ignorant about the
Poor consultation & participation of public led to failure of projects due to lack of
general sharing of information.
Poor baseline data collection without exhaustive study and without description of
process of qualitative & quantitative assessment due to lack of a centralized baseline
Improper or undefined Impact Mitigation Plan & Disaster Management plan
Unnecessary confidentiality to avoid political &/or administrative conflicts
Unchallenged/early implementation of inception of projects prior to EIA/EIS study