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SC directs Centre to declare area around national parks as eco-sensitive.

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    20th Dec, 2018

The Supreme Court directed the Union Environment Ministry to declare 10 km area around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country as ‘eco-sensitive zones’.

Context

The Supreme Court directed the Union Environment Ministry to declare 10 km area around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country as ‘eco-sensitive zones’.

About

Eco-Sensitive Zone:

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”. However, Section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards. Besides Rule 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 states that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations like the biological diversity of an area, maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants for an area, environmentally compatible land use, and proximity to protected areas. The above two clauses have been effectively used by the government to declare ESZs or EFAs.

Significance

  • Industrial corridor and public amusement parks alongside national park may be dangerous for the biodiversity of the region.
  • Waste generated by industries pollutes land, air and water of the area which is transmitted to the core of national park and wildlife sanctuaries can be harmful for flora and fauna of the region.
  • Noise pollution can make wild animals scary and they may move into the populated areas causing man-animal conflicts.
  • Making eco sensitive zone around national parks will lead to expansion of forest cover and will help in achieving target of 33% forest cover.

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