Important Environment

About National Board of Wildlife

• National Board for Wild Life is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
• Theoretically, the board is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
• It serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
• Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
• No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.
• The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister.

About Sariska Tiger Reserve

• Sariska Tiger Reserve is situated in Alwar District of Rajasthan in lap of Aravali hills, covering an area of 866 sq km.
• It got the status of wildlife reserve in year 1955 and in year 1978 it became Sariska Tiger Reserve.
• The topography of Sariska supports scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses.
• Its Wild life comprises Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Caracal, Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Chital, Sambhar, Blue Bull, Chinkara and Four Horned antelope.
• Flora of Sariska is found as Dhok tree, SalarKadayaDhakGolBerKhairBargadArjunGugal and Bamboo etc.
• The reserve is also the location of several sites of historical importance such as the 16th-century Kankwadi fort, originally built by Jai Singh II, located near the centre of the park.
Mining activities
• The area of Sariska, being a part of the Aravalli Range, is rich in mineral resources, such as copper. In spite of the Supreme Court’s 1991 ban on mining in the area, marble mining continues to threaten the environment

Background

• In 2006, Supreme Court prohibited mining activity within 1 km of national parks and sanctuaries.
• The environmental clearance was granted in 2016 by the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA), to mines within 10 km of the boundary of the Tiger Reserve.
• The directions came following an appeal against the clearance. It was contended that the EC was granted in violation of previous orders passed by the Supreme Court in 2006
• The NGT also took note of the Supreme Court order of December 2018, which said that for 21 national parks and sanctuaries, the eco-sensitive zone “will be 10 km as the proposal for the same had not been sent to the MoEF by the States.”

What are ecosensitive zones?

• In order to preserve certain regions/areas bestowed with unique plants, animals, terrains Government has declared them as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, etc,. Further, to minimise the impact of urbanisationand other developmental activities, areas adjacent to such protected areas have been declared as Eco-Sensitive Zones.
• According to the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the government can prohibit industrial operations such as mining, sand quarrying and building thermal power plants in sensitive areas.
• The purpose of declaring eco-sensitive zones around protected areas is for creating some kind of ‘Shock Absorber’ to the protected area.
• They would also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
• The width of eco-sensitive zone and type of regulation vary from one area to another.
• However, as a general principle width of eco-sensitive zone could go up to 10 kms around a protected area. In case of places with sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, even area beyond 10 kms width can also be included in the eco-sensitive zone.
• 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.
Section : Environment & Ecology

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