News Supreme Court observed that unbridled construction activities in eco-sensitive areas with natural water flow have a devastating effect and lead to natural calamities such as those seen in the recent floods in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttarakhand More in News
- The observations are part of its direction to the authorities in Kerala to demolish certain apartment blocks situated in ecologically sensitive areas at Maradu municipality in Ernakulam district of Kerala for flouting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
- Court said that the area in which the construction was carried out was part of tidal influenced water body and strictly restricted under the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications.
Coastal Regulation Zone
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- CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
- They sought to restrict certain kinds of activities, like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, or reclamation and bunding, within a certain distance from the coastline.
- The Rules, mandated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991.
- In 2014, Environment ministry set up a six-member committee under then Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Nayak to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules.
- Based on recommendation, the Environment Ministry issued fresh CRZ Rules in December 2018, which removed certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.
- While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union Environment Ministry, implementation is supposed to be done by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.
- The states are also supposed to frame their own coastal zone management plans in accordance with the central Rules.