Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: IPZ notification
Mains level: Features of the IPZ
- The MoEFCC has notified Island Protection Zone (IPZ) 2019 for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
IPZ Notification, 2019
- The notification relaxes development norms in the islands compared to the IPZ notification of 2011, which stipulated a no-development zone (NDZ) of 200 metres from the HTL for all islands.
- This brings the norms for Andaman and Nicobar at par with coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms for other islands close to the mainland and backwater islands where an NDZ only 20 metres from HTL has been stipulated.
- The cabinet had approved the CRZ notification in 2018 which relaxed a number of provisions in the CRZ 2011 to facilitate infrastructure development and construction on the coast.
- It included easing floor area ratio (FAR) in coastal urban areas and slashing the NDZ in densely populated coastal rural areas to 50 metres from HTL as compared to 200 metres earlier.
- The legal changes in the IPZ are aligned with the Niti Ayog’s proposal for holistic development in the Islands which is being taken forward under the guidance of the Island Development Agency.
Features of the IPZ, 2019
- It allows for eco-tourism activities like mangrove walks, tree huts and nature trails in island coastal regulation zone IA (classified as the most eco-sensitive region of the islands which includes turtle nesting grounds, marshes, coral reefs etc).
- The notification also allows for construction of roads, roads on stilts by reclaiming land in exceptional cases for defence installations, public utilities or strategic purposes in eco-sensitive zones.
- It states that in case construction of such roads pass through mangroves, a minimum three times the mangrove area destroyed during the construction process shall be taken up for compensatory plantation of mangroves elsewhere.
- These were not allowed under the IPZ 2011 notification which only permitted pipelines, transmission lines, trans-harbor links to be laid in the eco-sensitive zone.
- The new notification also allows a number of new activities in the inter-tidal zone between low tide line and HTL.
- This includes land reclamation and bunding for foreshore facilities like ports, harbours, jetties, wharves, quays, sea links etc, transfer of hazardous substances from ships to ports, manual mining of atomic minerals, and mining of sand with permission from local authorities in non-eco-sensitive sites.