Deepar Beel breathes easy after eco-sensitive zone notification.

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News: Recently, the Deepar Beel Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as an eco-sensitive zone by the Ministry of  Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. Read the news here.

Let’s Understand in simple language:

Deepar Beel is a Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Assam. This wildlife sanctuary under the name of development was under the constant pressure of changing the status quo and was even threatened by a railway track. This railway track runs in the middle of the sanctuary from where elephants scale the path for drinking water. Moreover, this railway track was to be doubled and electrified in the southern part of the sanctuary, which was already challenged by the dumping of garbage and encroachment from human habitation and commercialization.

About Deepar Beel:

Deepar Beel also knows as Deepor Beel or Dipor Bil is a perennial freshwater lake. It is located southwest of Guwahati city of Assam. This lake is present on the south of its former channel of the Brahmaputra river. Deepar Beel was designated a Ramsar site (Assam’s only Ramsar Site) in 2002. Moreover, it is also an important bird sanctuary for many migrant bird species. Also, this wetland is an important elephant habitat. The elephants regularly visit Deepor Beel from the adjoining Rani and Garbhanga Reserve Forest.

Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ):

Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas in India notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. The main aim behind ESZs is to regulate certain activities, to minimize the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem surrounding the protected areas. Activities prohibited in the eco-sensitive zone are hydroelectric projects, brick kilns, commercial use of firewood, discharge of untreated effluents in natural water bodies or land areas, etc.

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”. However, the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, or operations shall/shall not be carried out subject to certain safeguards.

An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometers around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002. Moreover, in cases where sensitive corridors, connectivity, and ecologically important patches exist, the extent is beyond 10 kilometers width.

Activities permitted in the areas include ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, adoption of green technology, and the use of renewable energy sources. The width of the ESZ and type of regulation may vary from protected area to area.

Questions Related to the topic:

With reference to ‘Eco­ Sensitive Zones’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1. Eco­ Sensitive Zones are the areas that are declared under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

2. The purpose of the declaration of Eco­ Sensitive Zones is to prohibit all kinds of human activities, in those zones except agriculture.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: d)

In which one among the following categories of protected areas are local people not allowed to collect and use the biomass?

a) Wildlife Sanctuaries

b) Biosphere Reserves

c) National Parks

d) Wetlands declared under Ramsar Convention.

Answer: c)

Protected areas including National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, sacred groves, reserve forests are the example of:

a) Ex-situ conservation

b) In-situ conservation

c) Cybernetic conservation

d) Leibig’s conservation

Answer: b)

Which of the following is/ are the primary criteria to select a site for Biosphere Reserve in India?

  1. Minimum one protected mammal species of indigenous variety
  2. Suitability for Research
  3. Traditional tribal living

Select the correct option from the codes given below:

[A] Only 1
[B] 1 & 2
[C] Only 2
[D] 1, 2 & 3

Answer: C [ Only 2]

 Which of the following are the characteristic features of biodiversity hotspots?
1. a Large number of species
2. Abundance of endemic species
3. a Large number of exotic species
4. Destruction of habitat
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

[A] Only 1, 2 & 3
[B] Only 2, 3 & 4
[C] Only 1, 2 & 4
[D] 1, 2, 3 & 4

Answer: C [ Only 1, 2 & 4]

Consider the following ecosystems:

  1. Aquariums
  2. Wetlands 
  3. Dams

 Which of the above is/are example(s) of the artificial ecosystem?

[A] 1 & 3 Only
[B] 2 Only
[C] 2 & 3 Only
[D] 1, 2 & 3

Answer: A [ 1 & 3 Only ]

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