Sharp appraisal: The environment impact assessment done in connection to a proposed aerodrome project in the Andaman Islands has been flagged as inadequate by an expert appraisal committee | Photo: Roundglass Sustain

Green ministry panel flags concerns with Andaman water aerodrome project

The Union environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) highlighted concerns it had with a proposed water aerodrome project at Swaraj Island in the Andamans this past fortnight. The project aims to connect Andaman’s remote islands with Port Blair as part of a tourism boost. The panel found the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to be inadequate. Missing from the report was the impact the project would have on the mangrove patch that part of the project is to be built on, the panel stated. The project will also lead to a loss of 3,500 sqm of forest land.

The panel stated the EIA report included “mostly secondary data” and lacked “actual site-specific biodiversity studies with respect to aquatic and natural environment in effect of tourism”. The panel asked the developers to submit a revised EIA report that also included data on the risks of sea-plane crashes, the status of coastal clearance from the state and the Centre and a reassessment of the impact the noise levels at the aerodrome will have on the surrounding fauna.       

Township in Great Nicobar Island likely to impact turtle nesting sites

Project documents revealed a proposed township at Great Nicobar Island is likely to affect turtle and megapode nesting sites. The region is home to endangered species such as the Leatherback Turtle. Despite this, the Union environment ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC), has already recommended the project for grant of terms of reference (TOR), which is the first step towards getting a green clearance. The EAC, in a meeting last month, however, did state the developers selected the site for the port component of the project keeping in mind the technical and financial viability, and did not give any importance to the environmental impact. The panel suggested an independent assessment be carried out by institutes such as the Zoological Survey of India or the Wildlife Institute of India to assess the technical aspects of the project.    

Mollem campaign impact: SC-appointed panel raises red flags over three infra projects in Goa

After a year-long campaign by citizen activists against three infrastructure projects to be built through Goa’s protected areas, a committee appointed by the Supreme Court expressed its concerns with the proposed plans. The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) report stated the three projects would threaten the ecology of Mollem National Park and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. It recommended cancelling the double-tracking of a railway line from Castle Rock, Karnataka, to Kulem, Goa and a new transmission line for the Goa-Tamnar Transmission Project. The panel also asked for green clearances for the NH-4 widening project on the Karnataka-Goa border.

1 in 4 cities lack finances to protect against climate crisis: Survey

New research revealed the dire financial situation of major global cities when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. A survey of 800 cities by the Carbon Disclosure Project revealed one in four cities (43% of the total cities) lacked a plan to tackle the impact of extreme weather as a result of climate change. These cities had a combined population of 400 million people. Among the key reasons cited by 25% of these cities, some of which include Rio De Janeiro in Brazil and Southend in England, were budgetary constraints. 

Spain passes climate law; aims to end fossil fuel production by 2042

After a decade-long wait, Spain finally passed its new climate law, which aims to end fossil fuel production by 2042. The law also commits Spain to cut emissions by 23% by 2030. It bans new oil, coal and gas exploration along with sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. The law set the country a goal of generating 74% of electricity using renewable sources by 2030. It is also the first law in the world to make it mandatory for companies to set climate action plans and emission reduction targets to be achieved within five years.

COP26 to be held in person in Glasgow this year

After months of speculation, the COP26 will finally go ahead in person in Glasgow in November this year. However, the UK government is looking into how vaccines and testing can curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the conference.

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