Friday, December 24, 2010

Towards Greener Development: Preparation of EIA Sector Specific Manual

To ensure that the economic growth and development in our country is in conformity with regulations for environmental conservation, the Ministry of Environment & Forests has notified the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006. The environmental clearances process under implementation prior to 2006, highlighted the need to introduce specific processes/categories/activities and also the need to introduce new sectors such as construction, coal washery, etc to be brought in the ambit of the EC process based on their extent of impact on environment. The EIA Notification 2006 has notified 39 developmental sectors, which require prior environmental clearance. Based on the capacity, they have been further categories into Category A or B. The Notification also provides for bringing out guidelines from time to time on the requirements or the EIA Notification and on the environmental clearance process.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests engaged two consultants Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad and IL&FS Ecosmart Ltd. to prepare 37 sector specific Manuals for the various sectors/activities listed in the EIA Notification 2006 – of which Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad prepared 10 Manuals and IL&FS Ecosmart Ltd. prepared 27 Sector Specific Manuals. These Manuals are proposed to serve as Guidance Manuals to various Sector specific Expert Appraisal Committees at the Centre and to State/UT Environmental Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committees (SEACs) in the various States, who have been assigned the task of screening, scoping and appraisal of projects of various sectors for grant of environmental clearance (EC). These Manuals would help in standardisation of the quality of appraisal and in further harmonization in appraisal of projects by EACs/SEACs/SEIAAs in granting ECs for various projects at the Central and State level. The Manuals for each sector is to include Model TORs, technological options, processes for a cleaner production, waste minimisation, monitoring of environmental quality, related regulations, and procedure of obtaining EC if linked to other clearances etc.

The ten sector specific EIA Manuals prepared by ASCI are on the MOEF website. These include:

1. Mining

2. Mineral Beneficiation

3. Airports

4. Asbestos

5. Ports & Harbours

6. Building Construction and Townships

7. Highways

8. Coal Washery

9. Aerial Ropeways

10. Nuclear Power

The 27 Sector specific EIA Manuals prepared by IL&FS and uploaded on the MOEF website include the following:

1. Thermal Power

2. Cement

3. Chemical Fertilizers

4. Sugar

5. Distilleries

6. Leather/Skin/Hide Processing Industry

7. Pulp & Paper

8. Offshore and On-shore Oil & Gas Exploration, Development & production

9. Induction/Arc and Cupola Furnaces

10. Metallurgical Industries

11. Oil & Gas Transportation pipe-line

12. Oil Refineries

13. Petrochemical Plants

14. Pesticides and Pesticide Intermediates

15. Chlor Alkali Industry

16. Synthetic Organic Industry

17. Petrol-chemical based production

18. Coke Oven Plants

19. Soda Ash

20. Integrated Paints

21. Man-made Fibre

22. Isolated Storages and handling of hazardous chemicals

23. Common Municipal Solid Wastes

24. Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs)

25. Industrial Estates

26. Ship Breaking Yards

27. Common Hazardous Waste Disposal, Storage and Treatment Facilities

To keep pace with changing technologies and needs of sustainable development, the manuals would require regular updating in the future. The Manuals uploaded on the website to not only give wider dissemination on the EIA Notification 2006 to all stakeholders – Governmental and non-governmental, project proponents and consultants involved in the environmental clearance (EC) process and experts from academia and concerned sectoral intuitions, industry associations and the local communities where projects are to come up but also to enhance transparency on the EC process.

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