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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be defined as the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts (effects) of proposed projects, plans, program or legislative action of the physical, chemical, biological, cultural, and socio-economic components of the total environment.

Need of EIA
Environment is composed of biotic & Abiotic components. There is a dynamic equilibrium between these components. When a project is undertaken it tends to disturb these components. To maintain the quality of environment it is essential that the impacts of the project on natural environment are studied on time and remedial measures be taken so as to promote sustainable and holistic development of the project. This is done through EIA.

Need of EIA
For Example, a forest ecosystem is a complete ecosystem which provides food, shelter to a wide variety of species. It provides firewood, resins, timber, medicinal herbs, etc.. to us. Therefore forests are our lifeline. Whenever a project is undertaken which demands clearing of the forest like construction of road or a dam, then EIA helps us to access the impact of that activity on this life line. It also suggests alternate project sites and alternate process technologies.

Ideal EIA System

Goals of Environment Impact Assessment

The major aims of EIA are: Resources Conservation Waste minimization Recovery of by-product. Efficient use of equipment

Sustainable Development

Methodology of Environment Impact Assessment

The EIA methodology consists of four phases, namely:
Organizing the Job Performing the assessment Writing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Review of the EIS.

Organizing the Job

In this step an inter disciplinary (ID) team is constituted to conduct analysis of the various impacts of the proposed programme on the environment. An ID team can be defined as a team which has been organised to address a common problem.

Organizing the Job

The team includes geologists, agronomists, chemists, agriculturists, ecologists, hydrologists, meteorologists, engineers, scientists, biologists, anthropologists, etc.. A format is prepared containing all the particular about the projects, its sponsors, participants of the ID team, time schedule, cost, specific responsibilities. Etc. This format is distributed to all the members of ID Team

Performance of the Assessment

This Phase of EIA consists of the following steps. (a) Site Visit: The members of the interdisciplinary team visit the site. (b) Identification and Evaluation: The adverse and beneficial effects of the proposed projects on the environment are evaluated. (c) Discussion of Alternatives: Various possible alternatives are discussed

Performance of the Assessment

What are the alternative uses of this site where the project or activity is to take place? Are there any alternative means of obtaining the objectives of the proposed project? (d) Preparation of Checklist: A checklist is prepared to ensure complete coverage of all the possible consequences of the proposed project, so that it can be determined as to what administrative actions should be taken. (e) Measurement of Environment Impact, due to the project:

Preparation of EIS
EIS is the conclusion of EIA. It is a written statement which serves as a device to ensure that the policies and goals defined by NEPA (National Environment policy Act) are infused into the ongoing programmed. It must contain the following items. Description of the site. Description of the proposed project The environmental impact of the proposed project. The unavoidable adverse effects resulting from the activity.

Preparation of EIS
Alternatives of the activity. Identifying the measures that can be taken in order to minimize the adverse effects. Incorporating the modifications in the proposed projects. Finally it is shown & on this basis any decision is taken.

Review of EIS
After the completion of EIS report, the law requires that the public must be informed and consulted on the proposed project. The proposed project is made available to the public through Press. Anyone likely to be affected by the project is entitled to have access to the executive summary of the EIA.

Limitations of EIA
EIA suffers from following limitations
EIA should be undertaken at the policy and planning level rather than at the project level. Range of Possible alternatives in the project EIA is often small. There is no criteria to decide what type of project are to undergo EIA. More research and development of improved methodologies is required to overcome limitations relating to the uncertainties EIA, reports are too academic, bureaucratic and lengthy In actual practice EIA ends immediately after project clearance, no follow up action is taken. It does not incorporate the strategies of preventing environmental intervention.

Role of EIA in Sustainable Development

Role of EIA in Sustainable Development

Carrying capacity based planning ensures sustainable development, Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) could form a major instrument in decision making and for measurement of sustainability in the context of regional carrying capacity, provided the conceptual framework is extended to cumulative assessment of developmental policies, plans and projects on a regional basis.