Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a legal body which restricts those industrialists or persons, who think nature is inferior to money and their greed. Let’s have a look at what the EIA is, and how it’s in danger, and, if it is diluted, what can happen.
In 1992, the Rio Declaration was signed by more than 150 countries agreeing on a deal that “Environmental issues are best handled by the participation of all concerned citizens and that state must provide an opportunity to citizens.”
Taking this and the Forest Act in consideration, the EIA was developed to check the consequences (positive and negative) of any project, policy, and program related to the environment. It checks generally infrastructural projects such as railway projects, dams, mining projects, and the expansion of industries.
In layman terms, the EIA is what the Avengers were to Thanos.
India lost $37.802 billion in 2018 due to climate change-triggered disasters and catastrophes. It’s said that this economic damage is so much that if this money would be distributed to 100 million people, everyone would get ₹2,80,000, and also it’s more than half of India’s defence budget.
The nation has already been witness to the super cyclone Amphan, extreme rainfall, and now the clean water and air crisis might dilute the EIA.
We all know climate change is happening due to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and, if the EIA is diluted, we might just see more such events due to the exploitation of our biodiversity and of forest lands.
The EIA, if diluted, will also challenge and violate the rights of Indigenous communities. Amnesty 2016 reports said that coal mining in Jharkhand has been violating Indigenous Communities Land Rights’ and their human rights.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) came up with a notification that the EIA-2006 will be diluted to allow for the “Ease of doing business,” looking at the current economic stress on India due to the pandemic.
But, we must take climate change into consideration even if we suppose that the EIA-2020 is beneficial. What about the economic damage and the loss of lives which will, and is, happening due to climate change-triggered disasters?
What about the millions of people moving into poverty and malnutrition since they lost their homes and ancestral land, as they vanish due to floods, cyclones, extreme rainfall, or disasters due to climate change?
We have only a little over a week to save the EIA, and the last date to file any objections or suggestions with the Environment Ministry (MOEFCC) is June 30, 2020.
If it is passed, we will lose our biodiversity, and the goal of fighting climate change will become difficult.
Some ways to raise our voice to Save the EIA are:
United, we can do anything!