ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Environment, defined as the surrounding or condition in which a person, animal, or the plant lives, is very important to determine the presence or existence of life. The environment of the Earth is idea for supporting life form. Till now, it is the only known planet in the Universe that has life form because of its suitable environment. The importance of a suitable environment cannot be stressed enough.
The human race, however, is extremely selfish. They are, no doubt, the most intelligent creature on the surface of the Earth. Theirs is a mind that cannot rest without innovating new things on a regular basis. Therefore, they keep on walking on the path of technological advancement. This has brought about negative consequences. In order to satisfy their ever increasing demands, the human beings have gone on to exploit the nature in all possible ways. They not only over exploit the resources of the nature but also add unwanted and non biodegradable substances in the nature. As a result, the composition of the environment has undergone drastic change over the years.
In the initial days, the people did not realise the importance of adding a check on steadily increasing pollution. Their ignorance, however, brought irreparable damage in the environment. The increase in the global temperature is a direct effect of the pollution that the people are suffering now. This global warming has caused a major change in the climate of the planet Earth. It has changed the patterns of the seasons of across the world. The ice caps across the world are melting at an alarming rate. Not to mention, there has been a severe increase in the number of diseases that affect both the human beings and the animals. The human beings, over the years, have acted inconsiderably towards the other living creatures on the surface of the Earth.
Numerous animals and plants have lost their existence from Earth. Many are on the verge of extinction. If the human beings do not take immediate steps to halt these damages, there will come a time when even the Homo sapiens will become an endangered species and finally an extinct one. There are severe alterations done to the environment in order to bring about development. The pollutants that are added to the air, water and soil have done irreparable damage. The only step that the human beings can take now is preventing any further damage to the nature in any form.
We cannot go back to living strictly close to the nature because the nature today has become intensely impure. If we shed our clothes, leave our homes and start surviving on the uncooked animal meat, we might as well become an extinct species in a matter of few days. Therefore, the only reasonable step is to live making the substantial use of the nature’s resources. Since, the human beings cannot just depend on everybody to magically develop a sense of responsibility towards the nature, it is very important to take legal steps in order to bring about remarkable change in the environment.
In 1960’s, the people started getting aware of the damage being done to the environment in the name of development. As a result, the process of Environment Impact Assessment was introduced. This is an assessment done to calculate the impact of any major project on the environment and its various components. If any industry is established, it will need some kind of raw material. It will also use certain resources while carrying out the manufacturing process. Further, the manufacturing process will also lead to generation of waste material. The impact of every industry on the environment should necessarily be calculated before it is set up in order to ensure that little or no damage is done to the environment.
There are several methods to assess these impacts. The Product environmental cycle analysis or Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method that is used to assess the impact of industrial products on the environment. The methods GMP-RAM and INOVA are used to calculate the impact of the genetically modified plants on the environment. For abstract cases, like the landscape quality, lifestyle quality and social acceptance, fuzzy logic is used. In this method, approximate reasoning and expert judgment is used in order to identify the effect of an action on the environment.
In India, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) works relentlessly in order to bring about a positive change in the present condition of the environment. Various acts have been passed in order to ensure that the harm done to the environment is reduced. The Water Act of 1947 prohibits the industries from adding untreated waste materials in the water bodies. The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 safeguards various endangered animals and their habitats. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 prohibits an introduction of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, the process of Environmental Impact Assessment has not been observed properly in India.
This process is not carried out with the help of advanced technology; as a result, the process takes a long time. To add to the problem, the data is not provided on time and efficiently. One of the biggest problems is the presence of corruption in the society. Since, offering and accepting bribe in India is a common affair, it is easy for the assessment report to be biased. As a result, the Environmental Impact Assessment report cannot be trusted totally.
The life form exists only on Earth and we do not have any other option yet, to go and live somewhere else. If the human beings continue to exploit the resources at the present rate, sooner or later all the life forms will perish. There should be stringent action against those who violate the environmental regulations. In the name of development, we are making the world an unfit place to live in. If environmental assessment is done effectively, major steps can be taken to prevent any further damage to the environment.