Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Elephant corridors in India
Mains level: Legal protection of Elephant Corridors and their habitats
- The NGT has asked the MoEFCC to consider declaring all elephant corridors in the country as eco-sensitive zones.
- The observations came while the green panel was hearing a plea that highlighted the increasing number of unnatural elephant deaths taking place across many states.
- Issue of elephant corridors has been raised by different applicants and various judgments have also been passed by the Tribunal.
- Therefore, NGT directed MoEFCC to look into this aspect in a broader perspective and also to have a permanent solution.
Designating a Eco-sensitive Zone
- The Environment Protection Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-sensitive Zones”.
- The 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 the section 5 (1) of this act says that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations.
- These include 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 Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFA).
- The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones.
Why such guideline?
- The complete lack of legal protection to elephant corridors and elephant reserves has led to a large number of deaths in areas beyond the protected areas.
- Owing to the increased denudation and loss of their forest habitats, elephants have come increasingly into conflicts with humans.
- Hence they face deliberate retaliatory killings and accidents at railway crossings, high tension power lines, power fences and trenches.