Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be described as a tool that seeks to ensure sustainable development by evaluating and providing mitigation measures for the impacts which might arise from a major activity and would likely affect the present state of environment adversely. Hence, this process can be seen as to be anticipatory, participatory and systematic in nature that relies on multidisciplinary input. Thus its aim is to predict the various environmental, social and economic impacts at an early stage while project planning and designing, find ways and means to reduce the resultant adverse impacts and shape out the project/activity to suite the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision makers. Hence, EIA can be looked upon as a modern versatile contrivance for framing strong policies considering the environment, society and economy as a whole for better development planning and resource management.
In co-ordination to the above context, a study was undertaken to access the various impacts of River Rafting a well established industry along the banks of Ganges in Uttarakhand, India. The basic approach for the study comprised collection of various primary and secondary data from field surveys and government records. Basing on this Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) various impacts were postulated. The impact on the local identity and traditional culture though moderate were also apparent and reported by locals. Environmentally, it lacks the monitoring of solid waste management generated from kitchen as well as by the visitors directly to defecation within submergence zone. Even man animal conflict is apprehended in this area. Hence, I think that a comprehensive EIA study can help in identifying and exactly quantifying the adverse impacts of this industry; simultaneously leading to sustainable planning and development.
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P. S. Mahapatra
Dr. R. Pandey