Capabilities and limitations of EIA
CAPABILITIES OF EIA
The capabilities of an EIA are listed below:
- An EIA is capable of establishing baseline data (concerning social, physical and biological parameters) before starting any development activity
- An EIA enables the government and public at large to evaluate the benefits of the project versus the environmental degradation or modification
- An EIA also enforces regular monitoring to ensure that the project is not damaging the environment beyond repair
- An EIA is capable of informing the public at large regarding any development activity in an environmentally sensitive area thereby causing public outcry enabling the government to terminate any project with vested interests that damages the livelihood of people (tribes sustaining on the environment).
- An EIA guides the project proponent to study the environment and propose the needed modifications to mitigate the adverse effects of any development activity
LIMITATIONS OF EIA
EIA suffers from the following limitations
- EIA should be undertaken at the project level but it is undertaken at the policy and planning level
- Range of project alternatives inthe project EIA is small
- There is no defined criteria to determine what type of projects undergo an EIA thereby requiring unnecessary expenditure and delay
- Lack of comprehensive environment information base, limitation of time, manpower and financial resources
- More research and development of improved methodologies is required to overcome limitations related to uncertainities in data
- EIA reports are extremely academic, bureaucratic and lengthy containing too many tables of collected data without data analysis, interpretation and environmental implications
- In actual practice, EIA ends immediately after project clearance and no follow-up action is taken
- It does not incorporate strategies of preventing environmental intervention.
- Project EIAs are limited to the projects direct impacts and this leads to ignoring wide range of impacts including:
- Cumulative impacts
- Global impacts
- Indirect, secondary or induced impacts
- Synergistic impacts
Finally, the issue of resource conservation, waste minimization, bye-product recovery, and improvement of efficiency of equipment need to be pursued as the explicit goal of EIA.