KATHMANDU: At a time when the development initiatives have been bringing adverse impacts in the environment, a team of environment management specialists have come up with Environment Impact Assessment. They have covered the major aspects of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The book is a good reference for all people, who want to have knowledge on the environmental issues.
The major objectives of this book are to highlight EIA good practices, to offer enough insight into the concepts, methods, and practices of EIA and to provide valuable guidance to EIA practitioners and academician, administrators.
In the past, planning was based on the concept of economic efficiency; environmental considerations were not incorporated in the project planning and implementation of development activities. Various environmental issues such as land degradation, loss of species, pollution, haphazard settlement, etc. have been observed; as a consequence. Efforts were made in the past to address these issues. The international, regional, and national agencies, including the private sector and NGOs, have made remarkable contribution towards the management of ecosystems through the initiation of various activities such as formulation of policies, strategy, and preparation of action plan, capacity-building and awareness programs, etc. Internationally, the United Nations Conference on Human Environment (1972) and World Conservation Strategy (1980) brought in a new dimension of environmental considerations in development models which emphasized the co-relationship between environment, conservation, and economic development.
In the 1980s, some major events such as the loss of millions of acres of land, flooding, siltation, landslide, soil erosion, air pollution, and loss of biodiversity brought a fundamental shift in the perception of environment as a crucial factor in sustainable development. The World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) has assessed and reviewed these issues and made recommendations on the mainstreaming of sustainable development as a new development path for the entire planet. Based on this concept, AGENDA 21, the operational document on environment and sustainable development for the 21st century, has recommended a full integration of environment on development issues at all levels of decision-making and further emphasized the adoption of EIA as one of the key instruments to achieve economic and environmental sustainability.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was first established in the USA in 1970 and it was incorporated into National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) for enforcement.
This book is written by Environment Management Specialist Dr. Ram B. Khadka, Environment Specialist Dr. Stefan Gorzula, Environmental Policy and Management Specialist Dr. Ananda R. Joshi, Environmental Engineer Shailendra Guragain and Environment Engineer Ajay B. Mathema covers major aspects of EIA practices of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. “These four countries are located within the same watershed and share social, economic, and cultural characteristics of the region. This is the rationale for presenting a comparative account on EIA practices of thee countries in this book,” they have added.
The introductory section of the book provides an introduction to the environment and EIA. Chapter 2 describes the process and procedures of EIA application and Chapter 3 provides information on project cycles and the integration of EIA components. The two chapters that follow (4 and 5) explain the processes of screening and scoping, respectively, and Chapter 6 provides an outline of Terms of Reference (ToR). Chapters 7 and 8 describe the details of baseline data collection and environmental policies, legislations, and regulation of all four countries while the next two chapters-9 and 10-explain the methods of impact identification and determination of significant impacts. Chapter 11 outlines the methods of designing mitigation measures. Environmental monitoring, auditing, public consultation and participation are described in sequence in chapters 12, 13, and 14. Chapter 15 compares the process and procedures adopted for environmental clearance of development projects of these four countries. Chapter 16 deals with an introduction to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which has been considered as second generation EIA to be applied at strategic level, such as in policies, plans, and programs (PPP). The last section includes a glossary of terms used in EIA and a list of references. The annexes contain useful matrices, illustrations, and schedules of projects which require the consideration of EIA/IEE in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.
EIA is multidisciplinary subject that involves a large number of different practitioners. This book is worth reading for all who want to know about the environment related issues especially practitioners and a wide range of audiences interested in becoming well-versed in the concepts and practices of EIA.
“Mistakes, omissions and inadequacies in the contents of the book, if any is the responsibility of the authors and comments, suggestions for the improvement of this book, are always welcome and the authors will make an effort to improve in the second edition of this book,” they have added.
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