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  • Principles of EIA

USAID’s environmental safeguards and procedures implement the internationally recognized Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.

Familiarity with the general EIA process thus makes USAID’s procedures much easier to understand—and is required to effectively simultaneously satisfy USAID and host country EIA procedures, something that USAID staff and implementing partners are increasingly required to do.

Effective compliance during USAID project design and implementation requires an understanding of key EIA terms and concepts and the effective application of core EIA skills.

This section summarizes the EIA process and introduces key EIA concepts and skills, providing links to more detailed resources in each case.

The EIA Process Defined

EIA is a formal process for identifying:

  • likely effects of activities or actions on the environment, and on human health and welfare.
  • means and measures to mitigate and monitor these impacts

The basic elements and outline of the EIA process are essentially standardized internationally. However, each donor and host country government has its own specific implementation of the process.

Key Terms and Concepts of the EIA Process

Environment:  The “environment” in EIA is not just the biophysical environment, but the social and cultural environment as well. EIA is concerned with the potential effects of activities on the biophysical environment, on societies and communities, and on human health and welfare.

Activity and Action:  In the vocabulary of USAID’s program cycle, an activity managed by USAID typically has multiple actions , which are discrete interventions or desired accomplishments: e.g. a road, seedling production, or river diversion to irrigate land.

Accomplishing an action itself entails a set of elements or tasks. (For example, “market access road rehabilitation” is an action. Entailed tasks or elements include surveying, grading, culvert construction, compaction, etc.) The EIA process needs to be cognizant of the entailed tasks or elements but establishes the findings at the action level.

Baseline situation:  The baseline situation are the existing environmental conditions (inclusive of human health and socio-cultural aspects) in the action area of influence in the absence of the proposed activity. Trends and variability are part of the baseline situation; it is not just a static snapshot in time. For example, this chart of groundwater levels shows both seasonal variability and a trend over time. BOTH are part of the groundwater baseline situation.

Impact : The change from the baseline situation caused by the action.

Mitigation:  The design and implementation of measures to eliminate, reduce or offset the undesirable effects of a proposed action on the environment.

Monitoring:  The essential complement of mitigation, monitoring is BOTH (1) determining whether mitigation is being implemented as required; and (2) determining whether mitigation is sufficient and effective.

Summary of the EIA Process

Note: more detailed overview available .

The EIA process consists of two main phases, as depicted in the diagram below.  

  • Screening or Preliminary Assessment
  • Detailed EIA Study

Most ---but not all – USAID activities have low or moderate risks. For these activities, the EIA process goes no further than a preliminary assessment ). Only activities with significant potential adverse impacts go a detailed EIA study.

(Note: In USAID terminology, a preliminary assessment is an “ Initial Environmental Examination ” (IEE). A detailed EIA study is an “ Environmental Assessment .” Host country EIA systems – with which USAID activities must also comply – will generally have different names for these documents.

Follow-through on the EIA process during activity implementation (not depicted in the diagram below) consists of IMPLEMENTING the mitigation measures identified by the EIA process and monitoring this implementation and its effectiveness.

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

Core EIA Skills

Life-of-project compliance for USAID-funded activities requires effective application of the following core EIA skills:

  • Characterizing the baseline situation,  focusing on the aspects of the baseline situation likely to be affected by the proposed activity, or upon which the activity depends for its success.
  • Identifying potential impacts of concern,  starting by researching the set of impacts typical of actions in the sector, and determining which of these “typical impacts” are actually of concern in the specific action context.
  • Designing mitigation measures , with an emphasis wherever practical on choices of technique, site, and other design measures that prevent impacts
  • Designing monitoring activities  to determine if mitigation is (1) implemented as specified; and (2) sufficient and effective.

The EIA process and key terms:

  • Training presentation “ EIA: Concepts, Process and Skills ” PDF (1 MB)
  • EIA Topic Briefing  PDF (1 MB)

How USAID’s procedures implement the general EIA process: Training presentation  EIA and USAID Environmental Procedures: the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and Beyond  

Core EIA Skills: Characterizing the baseline situation and identifying impacts of concern:

  • EIA: Concepts, Process and Skills  PDF (1 MB)

Core EIA Skills: Mitigation & Monitoring. Consult the Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting page .

Environmental Procedures ESDM Menu

Safeguarding the environment over the program cycle.

  • 22 CFR 216: USAID's EIA Process
  • Environmental Documentation: Types & Templates
  • Mitigation, Monitoring & Reporting
  • Environmental Compliance and Procurement
  • Mission Processes; Roles and Responsibilities
  • Environmental Procedures & Climate Risk Management
  • Special Compliance Topics
  • Parks and Protected Areas
  • Social Impact Assessment Principles

Key steps in environmental impact assessment: a comparative study of China, Queensland State of Australia and Nepal

  • Published: 24 January 2020
  • Volume 192 , article number  139 , ( 2020 )

Cite this article

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

  • Suman Aryal 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Tek Maraseni 1 ,
  • Jianshang Qu 4 ,
  • Lisa Lobry de Bruyn 5 ,
  • Yub Raj Dhakal 3 &
  • Jingjing Zeng 4  

2021 Accesses

9 Citations

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Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has evolved as an environmental management and sustainability tool. Despite common principles shared by EIA globally, there are considerable variations in EIA processes across countries. In this paper, we reviewed and compared EIA processes of China, Queensland State of Australia and Nepal considering five key steps (selection of consultants, report preparation, public participation, report review and approval, and monitoring and evaluations) of EIA. Our review indicated that the EIA is well recognised in legal instruments in all state and countries under consideration and there are both similarities and differences in key steps of EIA. Monitoring of EIA recommendations and the integration of feedbacks from the past and current practices are important in improving EIA processes. This study also found that there are elements for possible improvement in existing EIA processes by each state and country introducing the best practices from others’ EIA system. Some of the practices that Nepal can follow from the EIA processes of Queensland and China are licensing and accreditation of individuals and firms to conduct EIA, establishment of separate monitoring unit within regulating department, development of clear guidelines for approvals and monitoring, and the use of independent third-party auditing in EIA monitoring. The findings of this paper are useful in revising and improving EIA policies, practices and processes in the selected state, countries and elsewhere.

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Aryal, S., Maraseni, T., Qu, J. et al. Key steps in environmental impact assessment: a comparative study of China, Queensland State of Australia and Nepal. Environ Monit Assess 192 , 139 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-8098-4

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-020-8098-4

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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

  • Development projects in the past were undertaken without any consideration to their environmental consequences.
  • In view of the colossal damage to the environment, governments and public are now concerned about the environmental impacts of developmental activities.
  • Thus, to assess the environmental impacts, the mechanism of EIA was introduced.
  • EIA is a tool to anticipate the likely environmental impacts that may arise out of the proposed developmental activities and suggest mitigation measures and strategies .
  • EIA was introduced in India in 1978 , with respect to river valley projects.
  • Later the EIA legislation was enhanced to include other developmental sections.
  • EIA comes under  Notification on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of developmental projects 1994  under the provisions of  Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 .
  • Besides EIA, the Government of India under Environment (Protection) Act 1986 issued a number of other notifications, which are related to environmental impact assessment.
  • EIA is now mandatory for more than 30 categories of projects, and these projects get  Environmental Clearance (EC)  only after the EIA requirements are fulfilled.
  • Environmental clearance or the  ‘go ahead’ signal is granted by the  Impact Assessment Agency  in the Ministry of Environment and Forests , Government of India.

All projects that require clearance from central government can be broadly categorized into the following:

  • Individual projects that need require clearance from central government,
  • Nuclear power and related projects,
  • River valley projects including hydel power, major irrigation and flood control,
  • Ports, harbours, airports (except minor ports and harbours),
  • Petroleum refineries including crude and product pipelines,
  • Chemical fertilizers and pesticides,
  • Petrochemical complexes and petrochemical intermediates and production of basic plastics,
  • Bulk drugs and pharmaceuticals,
  • Exploration for oil and gas and their production, transportation and storage,
  • Synthetic rubber,
  • Asbestos and asbestos products,
  • Hydrocyanic acid and its derivatives,
  • Primary metallurgical industries (such as production of iron and steel, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, and ferro-alloys),
  • Chlor-alkali industry,
  • Integrated paint complex including manufacture of resins and basic raw materials required in the manufacture of paints,
  • Viscose staple fibre (biodegradable fibre similar to cotton) and filament yarn,
  • Storage batteries integrated with manufacture of oxides of lead and lead antimony alloy,
  • All tourism projects between 200m-500 metres of High Water Line and at locations with an elevation of more than 1000 metres with investment of more than Rs. 5 crores,
  • Thermal power plants,
  • Mining projects (with lease more than 5 hectares),
  • Highway projects except projects relating to improvement work provided it does not pass through ecologically sensitive areas such as National Parks, Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves, Reserve Forests,
  • Tarred roads in the Himalayas and forest areas,
  • Distilleries,
  • Raw skins and hide,
  • Pulp, paper and newsprint, dyes,
  • Electroplating,
  • Meta aminophenol, etc.

The important aspects of EIA are

  • risk assessment,
  • environmental management and
  • post product monitoring.
  • serve as a primary environmental tool with clear provisions.
  • apply consistently to all proposals with potential environmental impacts.
  • use scientific practice and suggest strategies for mitigation.
  • address all possible factors such as short term, long term, small scale and large scale effects.
  • consider sustainable aspects such as capacity for assimilation, carrying capacity, biodiversity protection.
  • lay down a flexible approach for public involvement.
  • have in built mechanism of follow up and feedback.
  • include mechanisms for monitoring, auditing and evaluation.

Environmental Components Of EIA

  • The EIA process looks into the following components of the environment.

Air environment

  • Quality of ambient air present and predicted.
  • Meteorological data: Wind speed, direction, humidity etc.
  • Quantity of emission likely from project.
  • Impact of the emission on the area.
  • Pollution control desires/air quality standards.
  • Levels of noise present and predicted
  • Strategies for reducing noise pollution.

Water environment

  • Existing ground and surface water resources, their quality and quantity within the zone.
  • Impact of proposed project on water resources.

Biological environment

  • Flora and fauna in impact zone.
  • Potential damage (likely) due to project, due to effluents, emissions and landscaping.
  • Biological stress (prediction).

Land environment

  • Study of soil characteristics, land use, and drainage pattern, and the likely adverse impact of the project.
  • Impact on historical monuments and heritage site .

EIA Process and Procedures

Steps in eia process.

  • EIA involves the steps mentioned below. However, EIA process is cyclical with interaction between the various steps.
  • Screening:  The project plan is screened for scale of investment, location and type of development and if the project needs statutory clearance.
  • Scoping:  The project’s potential impacts, zone of impacts, mitigation possibilities and need for monitoring.
  • Collection of baseline data:  Baseline data is the environmental status of study area.
  • Impact prediction:  Positive and negative, reversible and irreversible and temporary and permanent impacts need to be predicted which presupposes a good understanding of the project by the assessment agency.
  • Mitigation measures and EIA report:  The EIA report should include the actions and steps for preventing, minimizing or by passing the impacts or else the level of compensation for probable environmental damage or loss.
  • Public hearing:  On completion of the EIA report, public and environmental groups living close to project site may be informed and consulted.
  • Decision making:  Impact Assessment Authority along with the experts consult the project-in-charge along with consultant to take the final decision, keeping in mind EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan).
  • Monitoring and implementation of environmental management plan:  The various phases of implementation of the project are monitored.
  • Assessment of Alternatives, Delineation of Mitigation Measures and Environmental Impact Assessment Report:  For every project, possible alternatives should be identified, and environmental attributes compared. Alternatives should cover both project location and process technologies.
  • Once alternatives have been reviewed, a mitigation plan should be drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent towards environmental improvements.
  • Risk assessment:  Inventory analysis and hazard probability and index also form part of EIA procedures.

Steps in Preparation of EIA report

  • Collection of baseline data from primary and secondary sources;
  • Prediction of impacts based on past experience and mathematical modelling;
  • Evolution of impacts versus evaluation of net cost benefit;
  • Preparation of environmental management plans to reduce the impacts to the minimum;
  • Quantitative estimation of financial cost of monitoring plan and the mitigation measures.

Environment Management Plan

  • Delineation of mitigation measures including prevention and control for each environmental component and rehabilitation and resettlement plan.

Environmental Appraisal

  • An Appraisal Committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests will first scrutinized a project based on the data presented by the project authorities.
  • If necessary, the MoEF may also hold consultations with the investors and experts on specific issues as and when necessary.
  • After considering all the facets of a projects, environmental clearance is accorded subject to implementation of the stipulated environmental safeguards.
  • In case of projects where the project proponents have submitted complete information, a decision is taken within 90 days .
  • The six regional offices of the Ministry functioning at Shillong, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Lucknow and Bhopal undertake monitoring of cleared projects.

EIA of Coasts

  • Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) are prepared by coastal states or Union Territories as per rules set by CRZ notification 1991.
  • CZMPs are prepared based on identification and categorization of coastal areas for different activities and then submitted to the MoEF for approval.
  • The ministry then forms a task force for examining their plans.

Single window clearance

  • Environmental clearance + Forestry clearance.
  • When a project requires both environmental clearance as well as approval under the Forest ( Conservation ) Act, 1980 , proposals for both are required to be given simultaneously to the concerned divisions of the Ministry.
  • The processing is done simultaneously for clearance or rejection.
  • If the project does not involve diversion of forestland, the case is processed only for environmental clearance.

The Main Participants Of EIA

  • EIA applies to public and private sections. The six main players are:
  • Those who propose the project
  • The environmental consultant who prepare EIA on behalf of project proponent.
  • Pollution Control Board (State or National).
  • Public has the right to express their opinion.
  • The Impact Assessment Agency.
  • Regional centre of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

Composition of the expert committees for EIA

The Committees will consist of experts in the following disciplines:

  • Eco-system management
  • Air/ water pollution control
  • Water resource management
  • Flora/fauna conservation and management
  • Land use planning
  • Social Sciences/Rehabilitation
  • Project appraisal
  • Environmental Health
  • Subject Area Specialists
  • Representatives of NGOs/persons concerned with environmental issues
  • The Chairman will be an outstanding and experienced ecologist or environmentalist or technical professional with wide managerial experience in the relevant development.
  • The representative of Impact Assessment Agency will act as a Member-Secretary.
  • Chairman and members will serve in their individual capacities except those specifically nominated as representatives.
  • The membership of a committee  shall not exceed 15 members .

Salient Features of 2006 Amendment to EIA Notification

  • Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories, i.e., Category A (national level appraisal) and Category B (state level appraisal) .
  • ‘Category A’ projects are appraised at national level by Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and Category B projects are apprised at state level.
  • State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to Category B process.

After 2006 Amendment the EIA cycle comprises of four stages

Public hearing.

  • Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
  • Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types.
  • Category B, projects (Mandatorily requires EIA).
  • Category B2 projects (Do not require EIA).
  • Thus, Category A projects and Category B, projects undergo the complete EIA process whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA process.

Benefits of EIA

  • EIA  links environment with development for environmentally safe and sustainable development .
  • EIA provides a cost effective method to eliminate or minimize the adverse impact of developmental projects.
  • EIA enables the decision makers to analyse the effect of developmental activities on the environment well before the developmental project is implemented.
  • EIA encourages the adaptation of mitigation strategies in the developmental plan.
  • EIA makes sure that the developmental plan is environmentally sound and within limits of the capacity of assimilation and regeneration of the ecosystem .

Shortcomings of Environmental Impact Assessment

Applicability.

  • There are several projects with significant environmental impacts that are exempted from the notification either because they are not listed in schedule I, or their investments are less than what is provided for in the notification.

Composition of expert committees and standards

  • It is being found that the team formed for conducting EIA studies is lacking the expertise in various fields such as environmentalists, wild life experts, Anthropologists and Social Scientists (to study the social impact of the project).
  • Public comments are not considered at the early stage, which often leads to conflict at the later stage of project clearance.
  • A number of projects with significant environmental and social impacts have been excluded from the mandatory public hearing process.
  • The documents which the public are entitled to are seldom available on time.
  • The data collectors do not pay respect to the indigenous knowledge of local people.

Quality of EIA

  • One of the biggest concerns with the environmental clearance process is related to the quality of EIA report that are being carried out.
  • The reports are generally incomplete and provided with false data.
  • Many EIA reports are based on single season data.
  • The EIA document in itself is so bulky and technical, which makes it very difficult to decipher so as to aid in the decision making process.

Lack of Credibility

  • It is the responsibility of the project proponent to commission the preparation of the EIA for its project.
  • The EIA is actually funded by an agency or individual whose primary interest is to procure clearance for the project proposed.
  • There is little chance that the final assessment presented is un biased, even if the consultant may provide an unbiased assessment that is critical of the proposed project.
  • There are so many cases of fraudulent EIA studies where erroneous data has been used, same facts used for two totally different places etc.
  • There is no accreditation of EIA consultants, therefore any such consultant with a track record of fraudulent cases cannot be held liable for discrepancies.
  • It is hard to imagine any consultant after being paid lakh of rupees, preparing a report for the project proponents, indicating that the project is not viable.
  • The MoEF constituted the Western Ghats Experts Ecology Panel (WGEEP) in 2010 under the Chairmanship of Prof. Madhav Gadgil .
  • The Panel submitted its report in 2011 but it was not made public immediately due to its stringent assessment of the condition of Western Ghats.
  • The report suggested many radical changes that needs to be brought to conserve Western Ghats.
  • The recommendation if implemented would adversely affect mining mafia, sand mafia and local encroachers.
  • Under pressure from various stakeholders, MoEF set up the High Level Working Group (HLWG) under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan to study recommendations of WGEEP.
  • The HLWG had diluted many recommendations of WGEEP to satisfy the interests of various mafia.

Monitoring, compliance and institutional arrangements

  • Often, and more so for strategic industries such as nuclear energy projected, the EMPs are kept confidential for political and administrative reasons.
  • Details regarding the effectiveness and implementation of mitigation measures are often not provided.
  • Emergency preparedness plans are not discussed in sufficient details and the information not disseminated to the communities.

Q. ‘Gadgil Committee Report’ and ‘Kasturirangan Committee Report’, sometimes seen in the news, are related to (2016)

  • constitutional reforms
  • Ganga Action Plan
  • linking of rivers
  • protection of Western Ghats

Recommendations to improve EIA process

Independent eia authority..

  • Sector wide EIAs needed.
  • Creation of a centralized baseline data bank.
  • Dissemination of all information related to projects from notification to clearance to local communities and general public.
  • All those projects where there is likely to be a significant alternation of ecosystems need to go through the process of environmental clearance, without exception.
  • No industrial developmental activity should be permitted in ecologically sensitive areas.
  • Public hearings should be applicable to all hitherto exempt categories of projects which have environmental impacts.
  • The focus of EIA needs to shift from utilization and exploitation of natural resources to conservation of natural resources.
  • At present EIA reports are extremely weak when it comes to assessment of biological diversity of a project area and the consequent impacts on it. This gap needs to be plugged.
  • All EIA reports should clearly state what are the adverse impacts that a proposed project will have. This should be a separate chapter and not hidden within technical details.
  • It is critical that the preparation of an EIA is completely independent of the project proponent.

Grant of clearance

  • The notification needs to make it clear that the provision for site clearance does not imply any commitment on the part of the impact Assessment agency to grant full environmental clearance.

Composition of expert committees

  • The present executive committees should be replaced by expert’s people from various stakeholder groups, who are reputed in environmental and other relevant fields.
  • The EIA notification needs to build within it an automatic withdrawal of clearance if the conditions of clearance are being violated and introduce more stringent punishment for noncompliance. At present the EIA notification limits itself to the stage when environmental clearance is granted.
  • The composition of the NGT needs to be changed to include more judicials from the field of environment.
  • Citizen should be able to access the authority for redressal of all violation of the EIA notification as well as issues relating to non-compliance.

Capacity building

  • NGOs, civil society groups and local communities need to build their capacities to use the EIA notification towards better decision making on projects.

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Stages of environmental impact assessment | environment.

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

The following points highlight the ten main stages of environmental impact assessment. The stages are: 1. Identification 2. Screening 3. Scoping and Consideration of Alternatives 4. Impact Prediction 5. Mitigation 6. Reporting To Decision-Making Body 7. Public Hearing 8. Review (EIA Report) 9. Decision-Making 10. Post Project Monitoring & Environment Clearance Condition.

Stage # 1. Identification:

The first step is to define a project and study all the likely activities involved in its process so as to understand the range and reach of the project. This helps in deciding the possible zones of environmental impacts.

Stage # 2. Screening:

ADVERTISEMENTS:

Screening is done to see whether a project requires environmental clearance as per the statutory notifications.

Screening criteria are based upon:

(i) Scales of investment

(ii) Types of development

(iii) Location of development

A project will have several ramifications biophysical or environmental, economic and social. Hence, it requires some degree of public participation. The law for EIA varies from country to country. If screening shows that a project necessitates EIA, it moves to the next stage.

Some projects may not require EIA. It is generally determined by the size of the project and is sometimes based on the site-specific information.

The output of the screening process is a document known as “Initial Environmental Examination or Evaluation (IEE)”, based on which the decision is taken whether an EIA is needed and if so, to what extent.

Stage # 3. Scoping and Consideration of Alternatives:

Scoping is the procedure of identifying the key environmental issues and is possibly the most important step in an EIA. Scoping means the scope or range of the EIA report.

It undertakes the project’s effect on the air, water, soil, noise level, air quality and physical impact.

It identifies issues and concerns, decides the assessment methods, identifies af­fected parties and invites public participation for agreement on debatable issues. In which public participation involves interactions of all stakeholders including project benefi­ciaries, local people, private sectors, NGOs, scientists and other.

It is on-going process and is likely to continue in the planning and design phases of the project.

Scoping is important because it is possible to bring changes in the project in the early stages of the cycle of the project and it ensures the study of all possible important issues.

In this stage there is an option for cancelling or revising the project. After crossing this stage, there is little opportunity for major changes to the project.

Stage # 4. Impact Prediction:

Impact Prediction is a way of ‘mapping’ the environmental consequences of the signifi­cant aspects of the project and its alternatives.

There are two steps in impact analysis:

(i) Identification:

Identification of the impacts would have been initiated in the scoping stage itself. These initial identifications may be confirmed and new ones are added as and when the investigations reveal.

(ii) Prediction of Impacts:

Predication of impacts is both qualitative and quantitative. The scale and severity of an impact is determined by whether it is reversible or irreversible. If the impact is reversible, then it may be taken as low impact. If the adverse impact cannot be reversed then the impact is said to be high.

Duration of the impact is equally important to understand. The chronological aspects of impacts, arising at different stages must be taken into account.

Thus, it may be catego­rized into:

(i) Short-term (3-9 years)

(ii) Medium-term (10-20 years)

(iii) Long-term (beyond 20 years)

Stage # 5. Mitigation:

This stage includes recommended actions that can offset the adverse impacts of the project. This is done with the idea of lessening the negative effects and improving the scope for project benefits.

Mitigating measures may be:

(i) Preventive: public awareness programmes

(ii) Compensatory: to reduce potential reactions

(iii) Corrective: putting into place devices and installations

Stage # 6. Reporting To Decision-Making Body:

The project authorities have to furnish the following documents for environmental appraisal of a development project.

(i) Detailed project report (DPR)

(ii) Filled in questionnaire

(iii) Environmental impact statement (EIS): EIS should provide the possible impact (positive and negative) of the project.

Some of the issues to be included are:

1. Impact on soil, water (hydrologic regime, ground water and surface water) and air quality

2. Impact on land use, forests, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, recreation etc.

3. Socio-economic impact including short and long-term impact on population

4. Impact on health

5. Impact on flora, fauna and wildlife, particularly endemic and endangered species, and

6. Cost benefits analysis including the measures for environmental protection.

(iv) Environmental Management Plan (EMP):

It covers the following aspects:

1. Safeguards and control measures proposed to prevent or mitigate the adverse environmental impact

2. Plans for habitation of project outers

3. Contingency plans for dealing with accidents and disasters

4. Monitoring add feedback mechanisms on implementation of necessary safe­guards.

(v) Human Exposure Assessment Location (HEAL):

The concept of Human Expo­sure Assessment Location (HEAL) was developed as a part of the health-related monitoring programme by WHO in cooperation with UNEP, and the project has three components, viz., air quality monitoring, water quality monitoring and food contamination monitoring on a global basis.

In our country, Chembur and central Bombay city have been identified for such study of human exposure with reference to pollutants such as chlorinated pesticides (DDT and BHC), heavy metals (lead, cadmium) and air pollutants (nitrogen oxides).

Stage # 7. Public Hearing:

After the completion of EIA report the law requires that the public must be informed and consulted on a proposed development after the completion of EIA report.

Any one likely to be affected by the proposed project is entitled to have access to the executive summary of the EIA.

The affected person may include:

(i) Bonafide local residents;

(ii) Local associations;

(iii) Environmental groups active in the area

(iv) Any other person located at the project site/ sites of displacement

They are to be given an opportunity to make oral/written suggestions to the State Pollution Control Board as per Schedule IV of the act.

Stage # 8. Review (EIA Report):

Once the final report is prepared, it may be reviewed based on the comments and inputs of stakeholders.

Stage # 9. Decision-Making:

The final decision is based on the EIA to approve or reject the project. This is open to administrative or judicial review based on procedural aspects.

Stage # 10. Post Project Monitoring & Environment Clearance Condition:

Once a project is approved, then it should function as per the conditions stipulated based on environmental clearance. These conditions have to be strictly monitored and implemented.

Monitoring should be done during both construction and operation phases of a project. This is not only to ensure that the commitments made are complied with, but also to observe whether the predictions made in the EIA reports were correct or not.

Related Articles:

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paper cover thumbnail

UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) PROCESS IN INDIA

Profile image of International Research Journal Commerce arts science

The Rio treaties broadened the concept of common concern and global responsibility for protection of environment. Economic growth and environmental degradation can be de-linked by promoting more eco-efficient growth patterns. Despite the rapid economic growth the concern of environmental sustainability is the challenge of every country. This paper highlights the direct relation of government role in the monitoring process of environmental impact assessment towards sustainable development. The signs of unsustainable growth include high future infrastructure costs, an increasing tendency to produce waste and continuing declines in natural capital of country. Environment and its protection need a wide approach irrespective of boundaries. An economic and social justification characterize all environmental protection measures aiming to protect human health and safety. Through effective legislation on environment issue and with national instrument of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) the path of sustainable development can be easily achieved. The right to decent, healthy and viable environment is not only the right of present generation but is the right of human race on earth. This right becomes the root word for sustainable development. Effective implementation of law and people participation is required to ensure environmental governance in India.

Related Papers

SHIVAM CHAUDHARY , Achal Garg

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been prepared to address the potential environmental impacts that could arise from the construction and operation of a project. The main sections of the EIA include definition of the legal and institutional frameworks, description of the project and the environment, impact assessment, identification of mitigation measures, and presentation of an environmental management plan (EMP). Additionally, the EIA evaluates various alternative treatment technologies and presents technical criteria on which to base the selection of most suitable site and technology. It is desirable to have an idea of possible impact of any development plan on our environment. In order to have sustainable development it is necessary that before we embark on a project, we have to assess the effects of its development on the environment. It presents a clear & concise picture of all benefits & cost associated with alternative courses of action and provides a mechanism for merging the concerns for environment & economics in the process of decision-making. This paper discusses the accountability of responsible institutions in enforcing environmental assessments & procedures and challenges in enforcing laws for EIA.

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

Journal of emerging technologies and innovative research

Anushri Upase

Asha Rajvanshi

India has been one of the early countries in South Asia to incorporate environmental impact assessment (EIA) into the development planning process. While extant literature on EIA in India focuses on the implementation stage, our paper contributes to the understanding of the upstream EIA policy formulation stage. We argue that EIA policy formulation process is embedded in the larger debates regarding the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental protection. We show, using an analysis of the process underlying a specific amendment to the EIA regulation, that while there is an imbalance in power in favour of the economic growth lobby, the environmental protection lobby does appear to exert some influence at the policy formulation stage. We discuss the implications of our analysis to the EIA design and implementation in India. Abstract India has been one of the early countries in South Asia to incorporate environmental impact

Journal of Xidian University

Md. Zafar M A H F O O Z Nomani

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) law in India started in 1994 has completed 25 years of its enforcement and working in 2019. Being a cardinal principle of sustainability, the EIA law fostered good governance and environmental justice. The EIA law lately added to the corpus of law and ecology. However, it attained maturity in terms of its coverage of central, regional, coastal, and heritage conservation laws. The salubrious provisions of social impact, environmental planning, and public hearing reflected the EIA regime. The pollution control mechanism, ecological cycle assessment, and cultural heritage conservation are also some of the features of Indian EIA law. As an offshoot of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, the EIIIA grew under myriads of delegated legislation. It is yet to become an independent environmental statute and coming out of pounds and shells of subordinate legislation. The EIA has often seen a potential piece of sustainability law and augury of ecological justice in India. The EIA law requires an assessment of its success and failures during the working of the quartet century. The paper is a critical appraisal of EIA laws from 1994-2019 to take stock of its enforcement and governance. Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessment, Strategic Impact Assessment, Public Hearing & Participation, Sustainability Law, Environmental Justice.

Environmental Policy and Law

Madhuri Parikh

Indian Journal of Applied Research

MANISH PAWAR

Kundan Sagar

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is a practice to be done before any venture or significant movement is attempted to guarantee that it will not at all damage the environment on a long haul premise. Any formative effort entails not adjust in-depth examination of the need for such a venture, fiscal expenses, and advantages but also, it requires a nitty gritty appraisal of the impact of a proposed venture. The point of an EIA is to guarantee that potential effects are distinguished and tended to at an early stage in the ventures arranging and plan. To accomplish this point, the appraisal finding is conveyed to all, who will settle on choices about the proposed ventures, the venture engineers, and their financial specialists and in addition controllers, organizers and the government officials. So that EIA can shape the venture with the goal that its advantages can be accomplished and managed without bringing about unfriendly effects. Lately, significant ventures have experienced genuine troubles in light of the fact that deficient record has been brought of their association with the encompassing environment. Many new ventures have been observed to be unsustainable on account of asset exhaustion and their unfavorable effects. Although the purpose of introducing EIA in India was like other country in world to use it as a device for safeguarding that environmental anxieties, which are cohesive into the development project or programme planning process, however after more than 20 years, still it doesn't appear as a powerful device to " 'safeguard' the environment and socioeconomic arrangement of the communities in the country. Thus, this article, by tracing the evidence from various case studies related to the EIA from various sources of secondary data, including from various literatures, texts, articles, news, archives, explores the notable inadequacies in EIA processes and practices in India and finally by analyzing the loopholes, it distinguishes opportunities for exploiting the present conditions for reinforcing the EIA procedure. Hence this article, by tracing the evidence from history provides a background, how over the year and the EIA is converted into the project justification tool rather than project planning tool.

Somnath Hazra

IAEME Publication

Natural Environment nourishes material needs of humankind. Since the beginning of human history, the relationship between human and natural environment was friendly till increased demand for material needs due to modernization projects of development had adverse impact on environment. Consequently environment crisis has become a challenge to humanity, for the latter is exposed to ill effects take pollution, climate change and other natural hazards. Humanity passes through a critical situation. One the one hand it requires development and on the other it needs to conserve environment which is the basis of development. Thus, there is a positive relationship between the level of development and level of environmental degradation. Environmental crisis is a global phenomenon. To arrest this cries, that is to strike a balance between development and environment, the first step is this regard was taken by US in its National Environmental Policy Act, 1970. Since then several nations including India have incorporated Environment Impact Assessment into their development projects. But, the policies on EIA keep on changing with shifting development perspectives. The development model adopted by India is however criticized due to its capitalist nature and market orientation favoring big industrialist.

Which is the covering around us? We call it the atmosphere. We are living in the presence of this environment; it is the cornerstone of our life on which our whole life rests. Thus we can say that our development is dependent on the environment and our development depends on the nutrition of the environment. Thus we can say that both are directly related to each other in a complex way. The development of one is not possible without the other, so mankind has assessed many skills, learning's and innovations to nurture and adapt nature according to its needs. Humankind is expected to give an environment to the future generation which they too can enjoy as we had. This is our commitment to our next generation. This approach has prompted us to revisit the study and assess the environmental impact at the project level and strategic level. In this article, we will discuss Environmental Impact Assessment in detail.

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Your partner for better health, environmental impact assessment (eia) and steps to do it .

June 16, 2017 Kusum Wagle Environment and Climate Change 0

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Table of Contents

What is EIA?

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the assessment/measurement of impacts of any activities on the environment
  • It is the estimation of what would be the possible impact of any proposed or planned activity on the environment level i.e. assessment of possible environmental consequences due to certain activity
  • According to United Nations Environment Program Training Resource Manual, EIA is a process which provides information about the “prediction of how environment is expected to change if certain alternative actions are implemented and advice on how best to manage environmental changes if one alternative is selected and implemented.”
  • UNEP also considers EIA as a method to identify environmental, social and economic impact of an activity before making the decision to implement it

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

  • The prime objective of EIA is to inform the decision makers about the possible impact of proposed activity before making the final decision. Therefore, EIA is also considered as a valuable input for decision making about the proposed activity
  • EIA can be decided both at short term and long term risks to the environment
  • To assess the environmental impact, we must be well aware about the baseline situation of the environment i.e. existing situation of the environment before the start of the activity
  • Environmental impact is actually the deviation/change in environmental situation due to certain activity
  • It can be also referred as a process in which the environmental implication of an activity is assessed before reaching to a final conclusion of implementing the activity
  • EIA is done while conducting almost all sorts of activities like: building a dam, cutting down trees, road construction, establishing industries, building power houses etc
  • EIA conducting team includes people from diverse background who can make better and neutral decisions. This will also include public participation in decision making so that the quality of decision is stronger. Thus, public consultation is an important feature of EIA
  • Different nations of the world have their own EIA guideline and follow their assessment method in order to provide high level of protection to the environment
  • Direct and indirect impact
  • Short term and long term impact
  • Adverse and beneficial impact and
  • Cumulative impact.
  • However, all impacts are not given equal importance/priority
  • While talking about EIA, we must also realize that all activities might have some sort of negative impact on the environment. However, what EIA ensures is that the level of negative impact that can be created by an activity is at a very minimum level and high priority is always set for environmental protection
  • EIA process ensures that the environmental issues are discussed from the very beginning stage where the activity is planned or decided to implement. Then, necessary actions are taken by the project side to rectify the concerned issues.
  • These necessary actions can be anything as small as making a minor change in the process or changing the entire design, modality and other prospects of the project cycle

Generalized EIA process flowchart:

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

Different phases of EIA process includes:

write a case study according to eia process's key steps

Brief explanation of phases/stages of EIA study is given below:

  • In the 1 st stage, EIA team tries to understand the proposed activity by looking at the answer of two major questions: ‘what is being proposed’ and ‘why is it being proposed’? Answer to these questions determines whether the activity can be undertaken or not.
  • Then, screening of each activity is done through assessing the nature of proposed activity. This process does not involve detailed analysis or knowledge of the activity
  • On the basis of screening, the proposed activity is divided into different categories based on risk to the environment: very low risk category (which means end of EIA activity), or moderate or unknown risk category (which suggests to do preliminary assessment) or very high risk category (which suggests to do full EIA study)
  • In case of conducting preliminary assessment (which is done for moderate or unknown risk category), a very simple EIA process is followed using simplified tools. However, if the result of preliminary assessment shows the possibility of significant adverse impact, then we need to conduct full EIA study. However, usually, full EIA study is not required in case of small scale projects

Moreover, although brief explanation about the simple way of initiating EIA study is described above for our simplicity, there are certain fundamental steps which are usually followed by all the institutions or different governmental bodies while conducting EIA . They are:

  • Screening- (explained above)
  • Scoping- process of determining the most critical issues that are needed to study
  • Assessment and evaluation of impacts and development of alternatives
  • Reporting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or EIA report
  • Review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • Decision-making
  • Monitoring, compliance, enforcement and environmental auditing
  • Public Participation
  • Professional EIA team
  • Detailed analysis of environmental impacts
  • Setting of the alternatives and the impact of each alternatives must be identified, evaluated and compared

http://www.epa.ie/monitoringassessment/assessment/eia/

http://www.fao.org/docrep/V8350E/v8350e06.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/index_en.htm

http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/STS218/eis/what.html

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/environmental-impact-assessment-review

https://www.cbd.int/impact/whatis.shtml

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/environmental_impact_assessment.htm

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/environmental-impact-assessment-EIA.html

https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=828

https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/technical-review-guidelines-environmental-impact-assessments-tourism

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/environmental-impact-assessment

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/environmental-impact-assessment-review/most-downloaded-articles

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01959255

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925506001338

https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/eia/documents/legaltexts/Espoo_Convention_authentic_ENG.pdf

http://www.ats.aq/e/ep_eia.htm

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.12371/abstract

https://www.dhigroup.com/areas-of-expertise/environment-and-ecosystems/environmental-impact-assessment-(eia)

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Ready to quote, echo barrier blog, 7 steps to conducting a mining eia.

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An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a necessity for any project with the possibility of having a significant adverse impact on the environment. It’s even more essential for mining projects and other major developmental projects. You need to follow a series of steps to determine whether you need to conduct an EIA and how to accomplish it. Here are the seven steps you should follow:

1. Environmental screening

Screening is the first stage in an EIA. It provides you with a well-structured, clear, and factual analysis of the effects of your actions. The results you get in this stage will determine whether you will need to conduct a full EIA based on the likelihood of significant impacts or its absence.

This step is beneficial for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it aids you in making informed decisions. And secondly, it allows you to screen out unsound proposals that will have adverse social or environmental impacts. Also, note that you can combine the two screening procedures (Central America and Development Banks) for more accurate results.

This second stage allows you to prioritize critical issues to keep in mind during an EIA while eliminating others. While scoping, there are a couple of steps you cannot ignore. Firstly, after setting up your team of experts for the EIA, you need to describe and set boundaries for the project area and the project influence area. Also, you need to hold public and stakeholder meetings and consultations. You will use the feedback you collect in your outline of project alternatives and planning.

3. Impact assessment and mitigation

In this step , you need to give a detailed evaluation of your project’s social and environmental impacts and alternatives and compare them to baseline conditions. Additionally, it would help if you also came up with preventive measures to avoid the adverse effects. That way, you get positive outcomes with little to no harm done to the environment and those around it.

4. Impact management

There are a couple of risks that you may not have control over during the lifetime of your mining project, including natural disasters and technology failures. This step involves coming up with a series of protocols and plans to handle such risks. The protocols and plans also aim to manage and monitor the mitigation measures you came up with within the previous stage.

5. EIA report

In every EIA process, reporting plays a significant role. An EIA report contains a complete compilation of your project’s components running through all the previous stages. You include your project description, assessment report of the environmental impacts, mitigation actions you are taking, and any other vital details in your impact management and monitoring plans. These allow you to convey your assessment results, mitigation measures you came up with, and their outcomes. That way, you can make informed decisions.

6. Review and licensing

Before you get a project license, you need to submit your EIA report. In this step , you give a final check to ensure that your EIA report is of high quality. The review should confirm that you used proper methods in your environmental impact assessment, you provided quality data, and your EIA report addresses the relevant mitigation actions.

7. Monitoring

The project proponent does this last stage with the relevant agencies’ supervision (government or independent). This stage is to provide information on the environmental impact of the project during its lifecycle. Necessary monitoring will continue during the remediation period of the project.

Mining Noise Control

Noise is a principal contributor to environmental impact in mining. Echo Barrier keeps mining noise under control, reducing the environmental effects of a site.

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ForumIAS Blog

Environmental Impact Assessment

  • 1 What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
  • 2.0.1 EIA Process
  • 3 Objective of EIA
  • 4 Why we need Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)? / Significance of EIA / Benefits of EIA
  • 5 Rapid EIA vs Comprehensive EIA
  • 6 EIA notifications
  • 7.1 Shortcomings of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process
  • 7.2 How can we strengthen the EIA process?
  • 7.3 Way forward

What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?

As per United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is 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.

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) defines it as,

a formal process to predict the environmental consequences of human development activities and to plan appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce adverse effects and to augment positive effects.

  • Thus, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an integral part of Environmental Management. It investigates likely  impacts, both positive and negative , of development projects  on the surrounding environment .
  • Simply put, EIA is a detailed study regarding the impacts of any project on the environment. It serves as a decision-making tool which helps policy makers approve, reject or find an alternative to a project

EIA

In India, Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is notified under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

Evolution of EIA 

  • The origin of EIA lies in the enactment of the  National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the year 1969 in the USA. It not only introduced the concept of environmental impact assessment but also made it necessary for federal agencies to evaluate impact of environmental decisions.
  • Environment Impact Assessment gained popularity after the introduction of the concept of  sustainable development via World Commission on Environment 1987 & United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Summit) in 1992. It led to adoption of EIA in many countries as well. Principle 17 of the Rio Summit states that,
  • Environmental impact assessment  (EIA), as a national instrument, shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority .  [ Given just for your info. No need to remember this type of complex language.Instead, you can mention that  EIA is mentioned explicitly under Principle 17 of the Rio declaration of 1992].
  • In 1976-77, EIA was started in India, when the Department of Science and Technology was asked by Planning Commission to examine the river-valley projects from the environmental angle.
  • Eventually n 1994, EIA was made mandatory in India under the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. Until then, environmental clearance from the Central Government was an administrative decision and had no legislative backing.
  • Since then, EIA has been amended several times. The most significant amendment was made in 2006

EIA Process

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process can vary depending on a country’s policy and requirement. However, EIA process in most countries, including India, have the following steps:

  • Collection of baseline data
  • Impact Prediction
  • Assessment of alternatives, mitigation measures & Environmental, Impact Assessment Report
  • Public Hearing
  • Decision Making
  • Monitoring the clearance conditions

Screening : This is the first step in the EIA process. At this stage it is decided whether the proposed project needs an EIA and if so to what detail. Screening criteria are based upon:

  • Scales of investment
  • Type of development
  • Location of development

Scoping : It is the most significant step in the entire EIA process as key environmental issues involved are identified at this stage.

  • Scoping has to be done by consultants in consultation with the project proponent and guidance, if needed, from Impact Assessment Agency
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests has published sector-wise guidelines which outline the significant issues which have to be addressed while conducting the EIA studies.
  • At the end of scoping, detailed terms of reference (TOR) are prepared of EIA.
  • TOR is a written document containing written requirements governing EIA implementation, consultations to be held, data to be gathered, methodology to be used etc

Involved in Environmental Impact Assessment

Collection of baseline data : It describes the existing environmental status of the identified study area. The site-specific primary data is monitored and supplemented with secondary data

Impact prediction : Under this, possible effects on the physical, biological, social and economic conditions are taken into consideration and measures are suggested to prevent, reduce or compensate for the impacts.

For example:

  • Impact of biological diversity in an area ex. EIA done by Gadgil panel on the western ghats regions.
  • Impact on habitat because of deforestation and pollution- Impact on Himalayan ecosystem when hydropower projects are opened.
  • Impact on endangered animals and migratory paths. For ex Great India hornbill’s trail in India is evaluated so as to see that such developmental project is not affecting its pathway.
  • The predictions of impact can never be absolute and certain and thus there is a need to comprehensively consider all factors and take all possible precautions for reducing the degree of uncertainty.

Assessment of alternatives, mitigation measures & Environmental Impact Assessment Report: Identification of alternatives and their comparison : For every project, possible alternatives are to be identified and environmental impacts and benefits to be compared.

  • Alternatives should then be ranked for selection of the best environmental option for optimum economic benefits to the community at large.
  • Environment Management Plan (EMP) : Once alternatives have been reviewed, an impact mitigation plan is drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent towards environmental improvements. EMP is a crucial input to monitoring the clearance conditions and therefore details of monitoring should be included in it.
  • EMP is a site-specific plan developed to ensure that the project is implemented in an environmentally sustainable manner where all contractors and subcontractors, including consultants understand the potential environmental risks arising from the project and take appropriate actions to properly manage that risk.
  • An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report prepared at this stage should provide clear information to the decision maker on the different environmental scenarios without the project, with the project and with project alternatives.

Public Hearing : Public must be informed and consulted on a proposed development after the completion of EIA report

  • Gram Sabha must be consulted before the project starts. Gram Sabha means the electorate (people eligible to vote) of the region

Decision-making : It involves consultations between the project proponent (assisted by a consultant) and the impact assessment authority (assisted by an expert group if necessary). Final decision regarding the project is taken, keeping in mind EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan).

Monitoring : Monitoring should be done during both construction and operation phases of a project. This is not only to ensure that the commitments made are complied with but also to observe whether the predictions made in the EIA reports were correct or not.

  • Where the impacts exceed the predicted levels, corrective action should be taken.
  • Monitoring enables the regulatory agency to review the validity of predictions and the conditions of implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

Objective of EIA

  • To bring out a national policy to encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and environment.
  • To promote efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment.
  • To increase understanding of ecological systems and natural resources important to the nation

Why we need Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)? / Significance of EIA / Benefits of EIA

  • Facilitates sustainable development : In present times anthropogenic activities like rapid industrialization, mass production and clearing of forests have created immense pressure on the natural environment. Tools like EIA help in balancing the need for economic growth with equally important concept of sustainability.
  • Mitigating negative impacts & informed decision-making – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) helps in minimizing the negative impact of various development projects. 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.
  • Aids cost-effectiveness – EIA helps in selection and design of projects, programmes or plans with long term viability and therefore improves cost effectiveness.
  • Advance assessments also helps avoid future losses that may be incurred if the project is found environmentally unacceptable at a later stage. Cost of adaptation when a project is already running is usually more.

Thus, EIA as a tool aims to minimize the environmental impacts emanating out of any economic activity that have the potential to cause environmental degradation.

Environmental Components

Rapid EIA vs Comprehensive EIA

The difference is in the time scale of the data supplied. But both types require complete coverage of all EIA procedures

  • Rapid EIA : Under Rapid EIA data supplied is of  only one season (other than monsoon) to reduce the time required. Rapid EIA is for speedier appraisal process.
  • Comprehensive EIA : It collects data from  all four seasons. Rapid EIA is acceptable if it does not compromise upon the quality of decision making. The review of Rapid EIA submissions will show whether a comprehensive EIA is warranted or not. Therefore, submission of comprehensive EIA in the first stance would generally be more efficient approach. Comprehensive EIA includes appraisal of those projects whose analysis in not to be done soon, here time is not the essential factor but the quality of the appraisal is.

EIA notifications

Central govt has the power to issue EIA notifications under  Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 , wherein it can impose restrictions on setting up new projects or expansion or modernisation of existing projects. The section stipulates that such measures must benefit the environment.

Under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, first EIA notification was issued in 1994. Later, it was replaced by a modified draft in 2006

Salient Features of EIA rules Amendment done in 2006 

  • Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006 decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories i.e.,  Category A and  Category B

Salient features of EIA

After 2006 Amendment, EIA comprises of four cycles:

  • State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to category B projects.
  • Category A Projects require mandatory environmental clearance. Screening process is not required.
  • Category B projects undergo screening process. They are classified in two types:
  • Category B1 Projects: Mandatorily require EIA
  • Category B2 Projects: Do not require EIA
  • Category  A projects and category  B1  projects undergo the  complete EIA  process
  • Category  B2 projects are  excluded from complete EIA  process

This 2006 EIA notification has undergone several amendments over last 14 years. A new draft EIA Notification 2020 has been floated by the govt. It is meant to incorporate the amendments and court orders issued since 2006.

Major Provisions of draft EIA notification 2020

  • Public Consultation 
  • Period of public consultation hearings is proposed to be reduced to a maximum of 40 days.
  • Time provided for the public to submit their responses is proposed to be reduced from present 30 to 20 days.
  • Rationale by the govt : the shorter window was “in tune with the times”, given the growth of internet and mobile telephony.
  • Concern : Several environmental activists and organisations have instead argued that even the 30-day timeframe was inadequate as information failed to reach the stakeholders residing in remote and inaccessible terrains
  • More discretionary powers to government
  • Central government can declare “economically sensitive areas” without public hearing or environmental clearance
  • Government also gets to decide which projects are to be considered “strategic”.
  • Post-facto clearance : Legalisation of projects that have commenced operations without obtaining necessary clearances; subject to a payment of penalty.

Supreme court’s view on post – facto clearance  –

  • In a judgment in early 2020, in the case of  Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd vs Rohit Prajapati, the Supreme Court by also referring to  Common Cause vs. Union of India judgment , struck down and  condemned  ex-post facto environmental clearance (a concept which the new draft EIA proposes to regularise).
  • In 2013, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of  Association for Environmental Protection vs State of Kerala , held that commencement of projects without obtaining prior EC (environmental clearance) is a  violation of the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution
  • Post-clearance compliance:  Post-clearance compliance implies that once a project gets approved by the concerned authority, the proponent projects are required to adhere to certain rules laid down in the EIA report in order to ensure that no further environmental damages take place.
  • The new draft EIA, contrary to the 2006 notification — which required submission of the compliance report every six months,  proposes annual reports. 
  • Concern : Environmental experts are of the view that allowing a longer period for filling the compliance report will give an opportunity to project proponents to hide disastrous consequences, which could go unnoticed
  • Exemption clause : It identifies a long list of projects like roads and pipelines in border areas which have been exempted from public consultation and prior clearance.
  • Concern : Analysts note that by this provision, the government shall have discretion to designate any project as being of strategic importance. Activists in states with crucial resources like uranium, as in Meghalaya, have also opposed this provision
  • Baseline Data : Does away with the need to carry out studies covering all seasons in a year

In the 2019 ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report by the World Bank, India rose steadily from 142nd ranking in 2014 to 63rd ranking in 2019. India, however, has steadily declined on Environment Performance Index, from 141st rank in 2016 to 168th rank out of 180 countries in 2020.

The government has assured that it will strive to  strike a balance  between the environmental and developmental concerns. As and when the EIA is finalised, it is expected to incorporate the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in a balanced manner.

Critical analysis : –

Shortcomings of the environment impact assessment (eia) process.

Applicability : There are several projects with environmental impacts that are exempted from the notifications. Ex. Low scale sand mining

Inadequate capacity of EIA approval authorities : Lack of technical and environmental experts, anthropologists and social scientists among the members and involvement of crony capitalism and nexus between corporates and politicians leads to faulty decision making, where projects which severe harm the environment may also get approved.

Deficiencies in screening, scoping and impact analysis : There are no independent bodies and no standardized formats for project evaluation.

  • Absence of standardized baseline data brings arbitrariness in impact prediction.
  • It is allegedly done by those people which are on the payroll of company which creates a conflict of interest. They intentionally exclude negative impact on forests/ environment and impact on tribes during the scoping process

Poor quality EIA reports : EIA is presently used as a project justification tool rather than as a project planning tool to contribute to achieving sustainable development. Involvement of planning for future activities should also be focused upon along with the justification of the project itself.

  • EIA is not just a tool to describe YES or NO regarding a project but also about how the harm, if any, to the environment can be minimized, so as to be pollution-neutral and environmentally sustainable.

Initiated at a later stage : Another flaw in the EIA process in India is that it is undertaken at a much later stage, especially after the project has been designed, approved and almost ready for construction. Thus, by the time EIA starts huge costs are incurred and the project becomes too big to fall.

Inadequate public participation : In many countries like Nepal, Argentina and Australia, public involvement is mandatory at various stages of the EIA process (i.e., screening, scoping, report preparation and decision making), but in India public consultation  occurs only once  during the entire process. According to the EIA notification 2006, this public consultation is performed in two ways.

  • First, written comments are sought on draft EIA report from stakeholders
  • Second, public hearing is conducted at or near the proposed project site.

Drawbacks of this system:

  • Public consultation is done  after the preparation of draft EIA report and when it is ready for final submission to the expert committee.
  • Also, the notification issued for public hearing are  not published in local vernacular languages thus keeping it out of the scope of understanding of locals.

Weak monitoring : Monitoring is not done through an independent agency. Environment management plans of strategic industries like nuclear energy are not put into the public domain.

How can we strengthen the EIA process?

Independent Agency : Entire EIA process right from screening to monitoring should be done by independent agencies and establishing a National Accreditation Body for agencies carrying out EIA.

  • Creation of centralized baseline data bank

Applying Precautionary Principle : This principle states that if there is a threat of serious damage (in this case, to the environment) from a particular action then a lack of scientific certainty should not be used to avoid taking steps to prevent that damage. Hence, the list of concerns raised by the public should be studied in detail to arrive at any conclusion. Ex. GM crops.

  • Clearances given to project that is not clearly justified becomes questionable as happened in Sethusamudram Project

Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) : It helps in choosing a project and not just evaluate it. It offers alternatives and guides project financing. The directives of SEA are reflected in the National Environment Policy 2006. Similarly, Nepal also carries out SEA’s.

  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental implications of a proposed  policy ,  plan or  programme

Robust and Inclusive public hearing : A key role for local people through Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) at every stage. Special focus on forests and tribal. The traditional knowledge of locals needs to be incorporated.

Transparency : Greater transparency in the clearance process and dissemination of all documents for public scrutiny.

Capacity Building : NGO’s, civil society groups and local communities need to build their capacities to use the EIA notification towards better decision-making on projects that can impact their local environments and livelihoods. Capacities can be built to proactively and effectively use the notification rather than respond in a manner that is seen as negative or unproductive.

Way forward

In a world that is challenged by environmental degradation and social conflicts, scholars have upheld public and local participation to be a “threshold condition” for development. EIA provides this necessary element in the economic development process. Therefore, EIA-based approvals for most projects should mandatorily and necessarily involve the process of conducting public hearings so that the views and opinions of people who are likely to be affected can be taken on board before a decision to approve the project is made so as to reduce future scope of resentment.

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  • EIA: Essentials
  • EIA: 7 Steps
  • Teaching Tools
  • IISD Learning Centre
  • EIA Online Learning Platform

Environmental Impact Assessment Online Learning Platform

Delve into EIA with clear and concise descriptions of its history, approaches and key steps, as well as case studies, country comparisons, and more.

Who is this platform for?

This platform is designed for EIA trainers and participants in capacity-building programs. The latter group primarily includes junior policy-makers and EIA developers in public and private agencies with  responsibility for initiating and managing EIA assessment. These include learners who work in national, state or municipal governments as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, academics, students, and media.

How does it work?

After an introduction to EIA, learners are guided through the 7 EIA Steps. Each step is presented within the framework of 4 guiding questions: What is it? Why do it? What approaches exist? How is it done?  Throughout, examples are provided from international development banks and selected Central American countries. After each step, learners can assess their knowledge with interactive, online tests.

Acknowledgements

Sections of this platform are adapted from the open educational resource "Environmental Impact Assessment: Course Module," published in 2007 by the United Nations University (UNU), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and RMIT University.

Miambiente Honduras logo and GovCanada-logo

COMMENTS

  1. EIA: 7 Steps

    Here you can learn about the key steps of the EIA process, bolstered by summaries of approaches used by international development banks and Central American countries, with special focus on Honduras. ... all the research and work done during the previous steps into a comprehensive, structured document, ensuring that the EIA report contains all ...

  2. PDF Environmental Impact Assessment Training Manual

    • Understand the key elements of the EIA process based on best practices from global initiatives, including those led by development banks such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and others. • Understand the importance of a mandate for an EIA using specific case studies and examples from CAFTA

  3. Environmental Impact Assessment Process: EIA Fundamentals

    The first step in the EIA process is screening. During this phase, the regulatory authorities, often in consultation with the project proponent, determine whether a project requires a full EIA. This screening filters out projects with minimal environmental impact. It also ensures EIA resources serve projects needing in-depth evaluation.

  4. Principles of EIA

    EIA is a formal process for identifying: likely effects of activities or actions on the environment, and on human health and welfare. means and measures to mitigate and monitor these impacts. The basic elements and outline of the EIA process are essentially standardized internationally. However, each donor and host country government has its ...

  5. How to Use EIA Case Studies for Stakeholder Engagement

    The fourth step in using EIA case studies is to engage the stakeholders in the EIA process and the decision-making. Engagement is a process of involving the stakeholders in a meaningful and ...

  6. PDF Getting value from the case studies

    These case studies are organised to correspond broadly with the order of training topics in Section E of the UNEP Environmental Impact Assessment Training Resource Manual. For reference, Topics 1 to 3 respectively introduce the EIA process, the legal and institutional framework and public participation; Topics 4 to 11 cover the main stages of ...

  7. Key steps in environmental impact assessment: a comparative study of

    Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has evolved as an environmental management and sustainability tool. Despite common principles shared by EIA globally, there are considerable variations in EIA processes across countries. In this paper, we reviewed and compared EIA processes of China, Queensland State of Australia and Nepal considering five key steps (selection of consultants, report ...

  8. PDF 3 Approach and Methodology 3.1 the Eia Process

    THE EIA PROCESS. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a systematic process that identifies and evaluates the potential impacts (positive and negative) that a Project may have on the biophysical and socio-economic environment, and identifies mitigation measures that need to be implemented in order to avoid, minimise or reduce the negative ...

  9. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process & Procedures

    EIA Process and Procedures Steps in EIA process. EIA involves the steps mentioned below. However, EIA process is cyclical with interaction between the various steps. Screening: The project plan is screened for scale of investment, location and type of development and if the project needs statutory clearance.

  10. PDF Studies of EIA Practice in Developing Countries

    Case studies Environmental Impact Assessment from a Sudanese Perspective 1 ... • illustrating how the main steps and activities of the EIA process are carried out locally; • considering the environmental settings and types of impacts that are typically addressed in EIA practice; and • highlighting key trends and issues of EIA practice ...

  11. Stages of Environmental Impact Assessment

    Mitigation 6. Reporting To Decision-Making Body 7. Public Hearing 8. Review (EIA Report) 9. Decision-Making 10. Post Project Monitoring & Environment Clearance Condition. Stage # 1. Identification: The first step is to define a project and study all the likely activities involved in its process so as to understand the range and reach of the ...

  12. Advancing scoping practice in environmental impact assessment: an

    1. Introduction. As the initial step in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of development proposals, good scoping is credited with contributing to better environmental impact studies or statements (EIS) (McGrath & Bond Citation 1997), enhancing effectiveness of the EIA process (Canter & Ross Citation 2014), and promoting integration among different types of impact assessment (Morrison ...

  13. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Its Significance

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a structured method used to analyze and understand the potential environmental effects that could occur from upcoming projects or activities. ... The EIA process comprises several key steps to ensure a comprehensive assessment of potential environmental impacts. These steps include screening and ...

  14. (Pdf) Understanding of Environmental Impact Assessment (Eia) Process in

    Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies need a significant amount of primary and secondary environmental data. Primary data are those collected in the field to define the status of the environment (like air quality data, water quality data etc.) Secondary data are those collected over the years that can be used to understand the existing ...

  15. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Steps To Do It

    The prime objective of EIA is to inform the decision makers about the possible impact of proposed activity before making the final decision. Therefore, EIA is also considered as a valuable input for decision making about the proposed activity. EIA can be decided both at short term and long term risks to the environment.

  16. Step 5: The EIA Report

    The description of the proposal does not cover key features. An EIA report describes the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant using surface water as a cooling medium. ... Therefore it is very important to allocate enough time for writing the EIA report so there is ample opportunity to process the outcomes of each EIA step and ...

  17. 7 Steps to Conducting a Mining EIA

    You need to follow a series of steps to determine whether you need to conduct an EIA and how to accomplish it. Here are the seven steps you should follow: 1. Environmental screening. Screening is the first stage in an EIA. It provides you with a well-structured, clear, and factual analysis of the effects of your actions.

  18. PDF Environmental Impact Assessment Process in Kenya

    Experts during Environmental Impact Assessment process; ii. Help community members to understand when and how to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment process; and iii. Explain the options available to community members in the event they are aggrieved by any decision of NEMA in respect to the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

  19. What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?-ForumIAS Blog

    Thus, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an integral part of Environmental Management. It investigates likely impacts, both positive and negative , of development projects on the surrounding environment. Simply put, EIA is a detailed study regarding the impacts of any project on the environment. It serves as a decision-making tool which ...

  20. Big Data: Latest Articles, News & Trends

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  21. EIA Online Learning Platform

    The latter group primarily includes junior policy-makers and EIA developers in public and private agencies with responsibility for initiating and managing EIA assessment. These include learners who work in national, state or municipal governments as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, academics, students, and media.