Environmental Impact Assessment encompasses a wide variety of studies and techniques which can be used to describe, quantify and interpret the environmental conditions of sites before and after development intervention. These studies have become integral for demonstrating regulatory compliance and providing documentation in support of environmental clearances. At EPTRI, Environmental Assessment is performed to meet environmental protection objectives by drawing up Management Plans. In fact, it is a critical input in choice of location.The Ministry of Environment and Forests of India have been in a great effort in Environmental Impact Assessment in India. The main laws in nation are Water Act(1974), The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972), The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1981) and The Environment (Protection) Act (1986). The responsible body for this is Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the possible impact—positive or negative—that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the natural, social and economic aspects.
The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider the ensuing environmental impacts when deciding whether to proceed with a project. The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as "the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made
The third function is of particular importance. The EIA provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate ways in which the environment may be improved as part of the development process. The EIA also predicts the conflicts and constraints between the proposed project, programme or sectoral plan and its environment. It provides an opportunity for mitigation measures to be incorporated to minimize problems. It enables monitoring programmes to be established to assess future impacts and provide data on which managers can take informed decisions to avoid environmental damage.
EIA is a management tool for planners and decision makers and complements other project studies on engineering and economics. Environmental assessment is now accepted as an essential part of development planning and management. It should become as familiar and important as economic analysis in project evaluation.
The aim of any EIA should be to facilitate sustainable development. Beneficial environmental effects are maximized while adverse effects are ameliorated or avoided to the greatest extent possible. EIA will help select and design projects, programmes or plans with long term viability and therefore improve cost effectiveness.
It is important that an EIA is not just considered as part of the approval process. Volumes of reports produced for such a purpose, which are neither read nor acted upon, will devalue the process. A key output of the EIA should be an action plan to be followed during implementation and after implementation during the monitoring phase. To enable the action plan to be effective the EIA may also recommend changes to laws and institutional structures.
Initially EIA was seen by some project promoters as a constraint to development but this view is gradually disappearing. It can, however, be a useful constraint to unsustainable development. It is now well understood that environment and development are complementary and interdependent and EIA is a technique for ensuring that the two are mutually reinforcing. A study carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (USA) in 1980 showed that there were significant changes to projects during the EIA process, marked improvements in environmental protection measures and net financial benefits. The costs of EIA preparation and any delays were more than covered by savings accruing from modifications, (Wathern, 1988).
Environmental Impact Assessment offers various graduate courses as well as Post Graduate courses.
List of facilities available at Environmental Impact Assessment for students.
Environmental Impact Assessment