Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Compiled by Er. Ram Kumar ShresthaGorkha, Nepal
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool or process used to identify the possible positive or negative impacts of a project together consisting of the natural, social and economicaspects. 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. The International Association for ImpactAssessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as "the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant e
ffects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made."EIAs began to be used in the 1960s as part of a rational decision making process. It involved atechnical evaluation that would lead to objective decision making. EIA as it is practiced today is being used as a decision aiding tool rather than decision making tool.In Nepal, EIA has been integrated in major development projects since the early 1980s. In the planning history of Nepal, the sixth plan (1980±85), for the first time, recognized the need for
EIA with the establishment of Environmental Impact Study Project (EISP) under the Departmentof Soil Conservation in 1982 to develop necessary instruments for integration of EIA ininfrastructure development projects. The process institutionalized the EIA process in
development proposals and enactment, which makes the integration of IEE and EIA legally binding to the prescribed projects. The projects, requiring EIA or IEE, are included in Schedules1 and 2 of the Environment Protection Rules (EPR), 1997.
Process of EIA
The way in which an EIA is carried out is not rigid. It is a process comprising a series of steps.The main steps in the EIA process are:
Screening often results in a categorization of the project and from this a decision ismade on whether or not a full EIA is to be carried out.
is the process of determining which the most critical issues to study are and willinvolve community participation to some degree. It is at this early stage that EIA can moststrongly influence the outline proposal.
rediction and Mitigation
: Detailed prediction and mitigation studies follow scoping and arecarried out in parallel with feasibility studies.
Management and Monitoring
: The main output report is called an Environmental ImpactStatement, and contains a detailed plan for managing and monitoring environmental impacts
both during and after implementation.