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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Technical Challenge:

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) was developed as a tool to reduce negative impact of human activities on the environment.

EIA is one of the environmental assessment tools being used worldwide to provide decision-makers and also the concerned public with essential info to plan for environmentally sustainable economic development. It’s a systematic analysis of projects to determine their potential environmental impacts and also the significance of such impacts and to propose measures to mitigate the negative impacts.

Decisions on whether or not development goes ahead or not could involve trade-offs between an environment that is taken into account to be desirable and healthy, 'quality of life' problems, and economic gain. While it may not resolve such problems, EIA aims to create explicit to society what the consequences of such trade-offs may be and so ensure decision-makers are more answerable for their choices.

Environmental issues within the developing world are often linked to unbalanced or inappropriate development.


The purpose of the environmental impact assessment is to

  • Assess the impact of a proposed activity on the environment before creating making on whether or not to carry it out, and
  • Develop and assess measures to avoid or minimize those impacts if it's decided to carry out the activity.

Key issues in EIA

In order to identify the likely consequences of development, a series of steps should be undertaken to ensure that problems are approached in a very systematic and rational way. These stages form known as referred to as the EIA method. The process is iterative, which implies that it's not linear, however stages within the method recur and feed back into the process and also the design of the project as new info is gathered. There are variety of key problems that run through EIA altogether countries and that are essential elements of the method, and that are highlighted below.

When is EIA required?

EIA is required for all projects that are known as likely to possess a major effect upon the environment. As you can in all probability imagine, defining what's 'significant' isn't an easy task. The approaches used in different countries are made public later.

When does EIA start?

To be effective, EIA ought to begin early within the planning of a project so as materially to influence the planning and site. There are variety of advantages and downsides of undertaking EIA at an early stage. Benefits include fewer prices associated with rethinking a project, or delays ensuing from an attempt to mitigate impacts late within the design process. The project is more likely to be accepted if it's dealt with the concerns of the native folks at an early stage; EIA are often seen as aiding good environmental public relations. cost-efficient design, taking the surroundings under consideration, typically means that the overall project development prices are reduced

Disadvantages of undertaking EIA early in the development method include the difficulty of assessing the impacts of a project that isn't fully designed. It should be difficult to predict the prices of EIA, and so the project, once the final outcome is unknown as a results of not knowing what effects the thought of the surroundings may have on the project.

What should be covered in an EIA?

It is important that variety the amount the quantity} of impacts thought of in an EIA is reduced to a manageable number of key problems at an early stage. This helps to direct resources towards addressing important involved, that are of concern to involved parties and the wider public. Examples of the kinds of problems, which can be included, are pollution of watercourses, visual intrusion in a very sensitive landscape, or the destruction of a habitat or and the examples of for its cultural heritage.

Who carries out EIAs?

This varies in different counties. Frequently, it's the developer or environmental consultants performing on behalf of the developer UN agency carry out EIAs. However, in other cases, the EIA can be commissioned by the decision-making authority or undertaken by an independent body.

What about the public?

Consultation and participation have shaped an integral a part of the EIA process since its origin and most EIA systems create some provision for the involvement of the general public. The public have a democratic right to be informed regarding projects which will affect the surroundings in which they live and to voice their concerns. There’s growing acceptance that redoubled consultation and participation can produce significant benefits for each the project proponent and those affected.

How are the results of the EIA presented?

The environmental impact statement (EIS) is that the document that's bestowed to the decision-making body, aboard the appliance for development consent. It contains the environmental info and conclusions of the assessment and will be bestowed in a very clear, unbiased manner, enabling non-specialists to work out what problems area unit at stake. A non-technical outline is usually created for wider distribution. Public conferences, exhibitions, and displays additionally offer a method of diffusing info to the general public

Approach / Methodology

EIA is both a planning tool and a decision-making tool.

As a planning tool, EIA presents methodologies and techniques for distinguishing, predicting, and evaluating potential environmental impacts of projects as per the project cycle.

As a decision-making tool, it provides info that promotes policy-making and actions that ensure sustainability within the implemented projects.

Best-practice EIA identifies environmental risks, lessens conflicts by promoting community participation, minimizes adverse environmental effects, informs decision-makers, and helps lay the base for environmentally sound comes.

Benefits of integrating EIA are observed in all stages of a project, from exploration and planning through construction, operations, decommissioning, and beyond site closure.

Overview of the stages of the EIA process

the following in brief presents an outline of the stages of EIA to assist place them within the context of the whole process


The EIA method begins from the very start of a project. Once a developer has alternative a need and assessed all the potential alternatives of project design and sites to select a most popular alternative, 2 very {important important} important ought to be asked: 'What are the implications of this development on the environment? Are those effects significant?' If the solution to the second question is 'yes', an EIA demonstrated response to. Response to this question could be a process known as screening and may be an important start into a formal EIA.

The EIA process is, it must be stressed, iterative. It is demonstrated at this early stage of screening where the necessity for a proper EIA and its associated value implications can lead the developer to reassess the project design with a view to reducing the many impacts to level wherever an EIA is not legally needed (Nielsen et al 2005).


Where it's decided that a formal EIA is required, the next stage is to outline the issues that require to be addressed, that is, those impacts that have a significant impact on the atmosphere. This will be known as scoping and is very important for focusing the obtainable resources on the relevant problems.

Baseline study

Following on from scoping, it's essential to gather all relevant information on the current status of the atmosphere. This study is stated as a baseline study because it provides a baseline against that modification due to a development can be measured.

Impact prediction

Once the baseline study information is accessible, the important task of impact prediction can begin. Impact prediction involves statement the possible changes within the atmosphere that will occur as a results of the event.

Impact assessment

The next phase involves the assessment of the known impacts - impact assessment. This requires interpretation of the importance or significance of the impacts to provide a conclusion, which may ultimately be employed by decision-makers in decisive the fate of the project application.


Frequently, the assessment of impacts will reveal damaging effects upon the atmosphere. These may be alleviated by mitigation measures. Mitigation involves taking measures to cut back or take away environmental impacts and it'll be seen that the repetitive nature of the EIA technique is well demonstrated here.

Producing the environmental impact statement

The outcome of an EIA is usually a proper document, known as an environmental impact statement (EIS), which sets out factual information relating to the event, and all the knowledge gathered relating to screening, scoping, baseline study, impact prediction and assessment, mitigation, and observation measures. It’s quite common that a requirement of an EIS is that it in addition produces a non-technical outline. This is often an outline of the information contained within the EIS, presented in a brief non-technical format, for people that do not wish to browse the detailed documents.

EIS review

Once the EIA is complete, the EIS is submitted to the competent authority. This is the body with the authority to allow or refuse development applications. Basically, the review technique should modify the decision-maker to determine whether or not the EIS is adequate (e.g whether it's lawfully compliant), whether the info is correct, and whether it's unbiased. If it is, they are then in a very position to use the EIS as information to be considered in decisive whether the project should receive consent.

The competent authority is currently in possession of the information they require concerning the potential effects of the development on the environment.

Follow up

Follow up relates to the post-approval part of EIA and encompasses monitoring of impacts, the continued environmental management of a project, and impact auditing. Follow up presents an opportunity both to manage environmental effects and to learn from the method and cause-effect relationships. Ideally, info generated by observation and totally different aspects of follow up need to be compared with the primary predictions and mitigation measures within the EIS to check

  • the accuracy of the primary predictions
  • the degree of the deviation from the predictions
  • the potential reasons for any deviation
  • whether mitigation measures have achieved their objective of reducing or eliminating impacts

Information generated by this technique can contribute to the development of future EIA practice, more, by enabling a great deal of correct predictions to be created.

Key Stages of EIA

Main Participants of EIA Study

EIA applies to public and private sections. The six main players are:

  • Those who propose the project
  • The environmental adviser World Health Organization prepare EIA on behalf of project soul.
  • Pollution panel (State or National).
  • Public has the right to express their opinion.
  • The Impact Assessment Agency.
  • Regional centre of the Ministry of atmosphere and Forest.

After 2006 Amendment the EIA cycle comprises of four stages

  1. Screening
  2. Scoping
  3. Public hearing
  4. Appraisal
Key Stages of EIA
EIA In India

Category A process need obligatory environmental clearance and thus they are doing not endure the screening technique

Category B process undergoes screening method which they are classified into a pair of varieties.

  • 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 projects whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA projects.

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