Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Centre to file review petition on Eco-Sensitive Zones in SC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)

Mains level : Read the attached story

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has said that the Ministry will file a review petition in the Supreme Court urging a relook into its judgment on eco-sensitive zones.

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has earlier directed that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary across the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum one km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

Why such move?

  • The purpose of declaring ESZs around national parks, forests and sanctuaries is to create some kind of a “shock absorber” for the protected areas.
  • These zones would act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection.

What are the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)?

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC 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.

How are they demarcated?

  • 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 be carried out or shall not, 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 certain considerations.
  • The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones (NDZs).

Defining its boundaries

  • An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
  • Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.
  • Further, even in the context of a particular Protected Area, the distribution of an area of ESZ and the extent of regulation may not be uniform all around and it could be of variable width and extent.

 

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