Eco-Sensitive Zones - The Hindu - 19/01/23

Recently, Eco-sensitive Zones have been met with resistance from protests claiming that compliance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 has led authorities to disregard the rights of forest communities and negatively affect their way of life and livelihood.
->Eco Sensitive Zones:
The National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) stipulated that state governments should declare land falling within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) under the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986.

->Activities Around ESZs:
a. Prohibited Activities: Commercial mining, saw mills, industries causing pollution (air, water, soil, noise etc), establishment of major hydroelectric projects (HEP), commercial use of wood.
b. Regulated Activities: 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.
c. Permitted Activities: Ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, use of renewable energy sources, adoption of green technology for all activities.

->Significance of ESZs:
a. Minimise the Impact of Development Activities
b. In-situ Conservation
c. Minimise Forest Depletion and Man-Animal Conflict
d. Minimise the Negative Impact on the Fragile Ecosystems

->Challenges Associated with ESZs:
-Climate change
-Encroachment of forest rights

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