With reference to Sunita Narain’s article, “Why the environment matters” (September 25), developmental activities are bound to adversely affect the environment. To mitigate the consequences of such activities, sustainable measures are required.
First, employ preventive measures; second, minimise adverse impact to an as low as practicable level; third, remedy or compensate for harmful residual impact that is unavoidable and cannot be reduced further. Compensation or remedial measures should be the last resort.
Mitigation requires technical understanding of the issues and workable measures. Mitigation can be achieved by structural measures such as design or location changes, engineering modifications and landscape or site treatment; non-structural measures could be economic incentives, legal, institutional and policy instruments, provision of community services and training and capacity building.
Structural measures are established for certain types of projects such as dams, roads and exploration and development of oil and gas.
In some cases, industry codes of good practice are available. These should be applied with regard to the nature and severity of the environmental impact.
Projects involving new technology may require non-standardised or untried measures. These would need special attention during impact management.
Non-structural measures can be applied to reinforce or supplement structural measures or to address specific impacts. Several types of social, community and health impacts can be addressed by non-structure measures.
Sushil Bakliwal Jaipur
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