Eco-Sensitive Zone – UPSC Prelims

Eco-Sensitive Zone:
  • It is created to act as a buffer for further protection in an area within 10 kms around Protected Areas (PAs) such as National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries.
  • In case of places with sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, even areas beyond 10 km width can be included in the eco-sensitive zone.
  • Activities around such areas are regulated and managed so as to protect the environment.
  • ESZ is notified under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.
  • ESZ Guidelines classify activities under three categories:
    • Prohibited: Commercial Mining, Setting of Saw Mill, 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