ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT : TOOL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTBhupendra Soni, Saurabh Kharadiya, Dr. Praveen Mathur, Dr. Sangeeta Loonker
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process in which environmental factors are integrated into project planning and decision-making so as to achieve ecologically sustainable development. Best-practice EIA identifies environmental risks, lessens conflict by promoting community participation, minimizes adverse environmental effects, inform decision makers, and help lay the base for environmental-sound projects. EIA has been identified as an important instrument for facilitating sustainability. However, to do so requires the integration of sustainability into EIA Theory and practice. The sustainability concept is a valid and important Environmental management perspective. However, many issues and obstacles need to be addressed further if the concept is to be translated into practical strategies. Sustainability can potentially infuse EIA with a clearer sense of direction, an ethical foundation, a mechanism for establishing priorities and assessing choices, and a means of linking EIA to other environmental management instruments. Conceptually, EIA and sustainability can be integrated, but frameworks should be refined, adapted to context, and linked to related initiatives. Sustainability should be explicitly incorporated into EIA legislation, guidelines, and institutional arrangements.
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