Bhopal Gas Tragedy

Environmental Impact Assessment

In view of the Bhopal gas tragedy, future projects in a developing country like India must apply Environmental Impact Assessment. (EIA) to fulfil the following objectives:

  1. to identify adverse environmental problems that may be expected to occur;
  2. to incorporate into the development action appropriate mitigation measures;
  3. to identify the environmental benefits and drawbacks of the project, as well as its economic and environmental acceptability to the community;
  4. to identify critical environmental problems which require further studies and/or monitoring;
  5. to examine and select the optimal alternative from the various relevant options available;
  6. to involve the public in the decision-making process related to the environment; and
  7. to assist all parties involved in development and environmental affairs to understand their roles, responsibilities and overall relationships with one another.

Environmental Impact Assessment is essentially a preventive process which avoids costly mistakes in planning and development. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out EIA during the feasibility study stage of the planning process. India must carry out EIA for its development projects in order to ensure economic development. It should ensure rational geographic distribution of its development plans and try to avert adverse environmental impacts in the future. Training of skilled manpower and an easy access to information from other countries having somewhat similar physical and socio-economic conditions are important factors which could determine the quality of enviornmental assessments to be made.

Developing countries must carry out EIAs to the best of their national capability. Therefore it is urgently necessary to train their own experts in EIA. Foreign experts are no substitute for well-trained local experts. The involvement of local expertise will not only ensure that EIAs are carried out more relevant to local needs, but will also ensure a significant reduction in EIA costs when compared with those conducted by foreign experts.

The need to take environmental considerations into account to ensure successful economic development is increasingly recognised throughout the world. Laws of many countries provide that reports on environmental impacts must be submitted for public review.

Environmental Impact Assessment provides an important methodology for acquiring a clear understanding of the relationship between the economy, society and environment and offers positive measures for better harmonising the relationship between economic development and environmental protection as well as an effective means for strengthening environmental planning and management. The implementation of this system is of great significance to both economic development and environmental protection especially in a developing country like India, with its historical Bhopal gas tragedy.

 

[Previous Page]  [Next Page]  [Back to Home Page]  [Back to Contents Page]