Elucidate the meaning of Ecological Sensitive Area (ESA) and Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs) while bringing out the objectives of their demarcation.

Published: May 10, 2017

Ecological Sensitive Areas or Ecologically Sensitive Zones refer to those areas which have been notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change as areas around the Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks and Protected Areas as requiring more protection due to their sensitiveness.
The objectives for their demarcation are as follows:

  • To manage and regulate the activities around these areas with the intention of creating some kinds of ‘shock absorbers’
  • To provide for a transition zone between the highly protected and relatively less protected areas
  • To give effect to Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which restricts the operation of industries or processes to be carries out in certain areas or to maintain certain safeguards to operate industries.
  • In order to make it a mandate on the states. After a Supreme Court order in the case of Shri Anand Arya v Union of India had put a mandate to set up these zones. But most of the states had not followed it. Only Haryana, Gujarat, Assam, Goa, Meghalaya and Mizoram had submitted proposals. This low response has forced the Centre to issue these guidelines.

To mark at least 10 kilometres as ecologically sensitive areas around these forest patches as provided under the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.

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