Despite objections, Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone curtailed

• The 33rd ESZ Expert Committee meeting of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) has recommended to finalize the draft notification which declared an Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ) area of 168.84 sq.km around Bannerghatta National Park. Environment activists have strongly opposed the draft notification.

Key highlights

• In 2016, the government had brought out a draft notification which called for 268.96 sq. km of ESZ around Bannerghatta National Park. However, in 2018, the government issued another draft notification which reduced the area of ESZ to 169 sq. km.

• According to Supreme Court orders, unless site-specific ESZs are declared a 10-km area around each of these wildlife zones is treated as an ESZ.

• Eco-sensitive zone is an area notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. Notifications declaring areas as ESZ are issued under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The main aim behind ESZs are to regulate certain activities so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem surrounding the protected areas.

• The Bannerghatta National Park is located near Bangalore city in Karnataka. It was declared as a national park in 1974. A part of the national park was designated as Bannerghatta Biological Park in 2002. The biological park provides for ex-situ conservation of species. It also has a butterfly park-the first in India.

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Prelims Level: Bannerghatta National Park, ESZs

Mains Level: Read the attached story

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