Eco-sensitive zone

Eco-sensitive zone

Eco-sensitive zone

#GS-03 Environment and Ecology

Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court on 14-10-22 indicated it may consider taking up Kerala’s review of the Supreme Court’s judgment to have a one-km eco-sensitive zone ringing protected forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country along with a plea for clarification sought by the Centre.

For Prelims

About Eco-sensitive zone:

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The basic aim of creating an Eco-sensitive zone is to regulate certain activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem encompassing the protected areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
  • An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.

What activities are prohibited in ESZs?

  • Commercial mining,
  • sawmills,
  • industries causing pollution (air, water, soil, noise etc),
  • establishment of major hydroelectric projects (HEP),
  • commercial use of wood.
  • Tourism activities like hot-air balloons over the National Park,
  • discharge of effluents or any solid waste or production of hazardous substances.

Activities which are regulated in ESZ:

  • Felling of trees,
  • establishment of hotels and resorts,
  • commercial use of natural water,
  • erection of electrical cables,
  • drastic change of agriculture system, e.g., adoption of heavy technology, pesticides etc,
  • widening of roads.

Activities which are permitted in ESZ:

  • Ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices,
  • rainwater harvesting,
  • organic farming,
  • use of renewable energy sources,
  • adoption of green technology for all activities.