Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: New CRZ norms
Mains level: India’s efforts for marine environment conservation and various initiatives related to it
- The Union Environment Ministry has released the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2019 opening up the coastline of the country for construction and tourism activities.
- In June 2014, the MoEFCC constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Shailesh Nayak to examine the various issues and concerns recommending appropriate changes in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
- The Shailesh Nayak Committee held wide ranging consultations with State Governments and other stakeholders and submitted its recommendations in 2015.
- The new CRZ notification, issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 seeks to “to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming.
- It aims to conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal area.
FSI Norms Eased
- For CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels.
- In the CRZ, 2019 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification.
Tourism infrastructure permitted in coastal areas
- Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches.
- Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification.
- However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.
CRZ Clearances streamlined
- Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the MoEFCC.
- The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.
No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters for all Islands
- For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.
- It has been done in the wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions.
- In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
- The Notification contains provisions for defence and strategic projects.
Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA)
- Sundarban region of West Bengal and other ecologically sensitive areas identified are as under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such as Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhaitarkanika in Odisha, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in AP.
- They are treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) and managed with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk who depend on coastal resources for their sustainable livelihood.
- The changes brought about in the CRZ Notification will help creating additional opportunities for affordable housing and sustainable development activities.
- It is stated that the new notification will boost tourism, creating employment opportunities.