Ecological Sensitive Zones

  • Created to act as a buffer for further protection around Protected Areas such as National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries Activities around such areas are regulated and managed to protect the environment.
  • ESZ is notified under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.
  • ESZ Guidelines classify activities under three categories:
  • Prohibited: Commercial Mining, Setting of Sawmill, Setting of industries causing pollution, establishment of major hydroelectric projects etc.
  • Regulated: Felling of Trees, Establishment of hotels and resorts, erection of electrical cables, drastic change of agricultural systems etc.
  • Permitted: Ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities, rain water harvesting, organic farming etc.
  • Many states are opposed to ESZ because of presence of minerals and resources side by side.
  • Local people in many areas are also opposed to ESZ for loss of livelihood due to restriction placed by it on various activities.

JUDGEMENT ON ECO-SENSITIVE ZONES Each protected forest (National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary) must have an ESZ of minimum one kilometre measured from the demarcated boundary of such protected forest in which the activities outlawed/proscribed and prescribed in ESZ Guidelines shall be strictly adhered to.If for a protected area, the ESZ is already prescribed as per law that goes beyond one kilometre buffer zone, the wider margin as ESZ shall prevail.Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Home Secretary of each State & UT shall remain responsible for proper compliance.Mining with National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries shall not be permitted.Minimum width of ESZ may be diluted in overwhelming public interest but for that purpose State or UT concerned shall approach CEC and MOEFCC and both these shall give their respective opinions before the Supreme Court which will pass appropriate order.

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