Model Question and Answers for APSC | What is an Environment Impact Assessment? What is imperative to carry out EIA of any large industrial infrastructure project? (APSC Mains 2020 GS- III)

Model Question and Answers for APSC | What is an Environment Impact Assessment? What is imperative to carry out EIA of any large industrial infrastructure project? (APSC Mains 2020 GS- III)

Ans : Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse. UNEP defines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers.
Although legislation and practice vary around the world, the fundamental components of an EIA would necessarily involve the following stages:
1. Screening: to determine which projects or developments require a full or partial impact assessment study;
2. Scoping: to identify which potential impacts are relevant to assess, to identify alternative solutions that avoid, mitigate or compensate adverse impacts on biodiversity, and finally to derive terms of reference for the impact assessment;

3. Assessment and evaluation of impacts and development of alternatives, to predict and identify the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, including the detailed elaboration of alternatives;
4. Reporting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or EIA report, including an environmental management plan (EMP), and a non-technical summary for the general audience.
5. Review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), based on the terms of reference (scoping) and public (including authority) participation.
6. Decision-making on whether to approve the project or not, and under what conditions; and
7. Monitoring, compliance, enforcement and environmental auditing.

Imperative to carry out EIA of any large industrial infrastructure project:
1. EIA links environment with development for environmentally safe and sustainable development.
2. EIA provides a cost effective method to eliminate or minimise the adverse impact of developmental projects.
3. EIA enables the decision makers to analyse the effect of developmental activities on the environment well before the developmental project is implemented.
4. EIA encourages the adaptation of mitigation strategies in the developmental plan.
5. EIA makes sure that the developmental plan is environmentally sound and within the limits of the capacity of assimilation and regeneration of the ecosystem.