Eco-Sensitive zone – Today Current Affairs
- Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a draft notification to declare the area of Neyyar and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuaries in Thiruvananthapuram as Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ).
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Neyyar and Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
- Both these wildlife sanctuaries are included under the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve in the Western Ghats.
- These wildlife sanctuaries are known for rich biodiversity, where 1000 species of flowers, 43 mammal species, 233 bird species, 46 reptile species, 13 amphibian species, 27 marine species are found. The endangered MyristicaSwamp is also located in this protected area.
Provisions of notification : The Hindu Analysis
- It is imperative to prepare a regional master plan in consultation with various departments to ensure strict adherence to the rules.
- ESZ A monitoring committee will be constituted under the chairmanship of the District Collector for monitoring.
Opposition to notification : The Hindu Analysis
- Experts are of the view that notified areas may adversely affect the normal life of local bodies as well as their development prospects.
- The restrictions imposed in this area are likely to hamper the ongoing infrastructure development projects, including the Hill Highway project.
- Farmers engaged in agricultural activities may face difficulties due to restrictions.
What is ESZ AREA? The Hindu Analysis
- These are also called Ecologically Fragile Areas or Ecologically Vulnerable Areas. Notification of these areas is issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. These are established in the vicinity of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, mining, sand quarrying, construction of thermal power plants etc. can be banned in these sensitive areas.
E.S.Z. Activities prohibited in the area : The Hindu Analysis
- 1 km of protected areas. No construction of any kind, including hotels and resorts, is permitted inside.
- Small scale industries classified as non-polluting by the Central Pollution Control Board can be set up in these areas.
- No tree can be felled in the forest or government or revenue or private land without the prior permission of the competent authority in the State Government.
- Commercial mining, stone quarrying etc. activities are prohibited in this area. Also, new industries and expansion of existing polluting industries are not allowed.
- In addition, hydroelectric projects, solid waste disposal sites, large-scale commercial livestock and poultry farms, wood-based industrial units and brick kilns have also been banned in these areas.
- The use or production of hazardous substances in the region, the discharge of untreated effluents into natural water bodies or land areas, the manufacture and storage of explosives, the commercial use of firewood, the dumping of solid, plastic and chemical wastes in rivers and land areas, Encroachment on the river bank will be stopped.
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- Local communities in these protected areas will be allowed to continue agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming and aquaculture.
- Environment friendly activities like rain water harvesting, organic farming, cottage industries, use of renewable energy and fuel, agro-forestry, eco-friendly transport, horticulture and medicinal plantation and environmental awareness will be encouraged in these areas.