From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CRZ norms
Mains level : Coastal conservation in India
Few illegal apartment complexes in Maradu, Kerala, were razed as ordered by the Supreme Court for breaching Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. The court had called the illegal constructions a “colossal loss” to the environment.
What are CRZ norms?
- In India, the CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
- They restrict certain kinds of activities — like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, reclamation and bunding — within a certain distance from the coastline.
- After the passing of the Environment Protection Act in 1986, CRZ Rules were first framed in 1991.
- After these were found to be restrictive, the Centre notified new Rules in 2011, which also included exemptions for the construction of the Navi Mumbai airport and for projects of the Department of Atomic Energy.
- In 2018, fresh Rules were issued, which aimed to remove certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.
- While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.
Where do they apply?
- In all Rules, the regulation zone has been defined as the area up to 500 m from the high-tide line.
- The restrictions depend on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.
- The latest Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.