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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 233
September 03, 2011

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Environment Clearance Certificate (ECC)

Md. Golam Sarwar

The Environment clearance certificate is a process to ensure sustainable development, without creating harmful effect on the environment and the bio diversity. Environment Conservation Act 1995 which was amended in 2010 in section 12 and Environment Conservation Rules provided procedure for the ECC (Environment Clearance Certificate). Though this is a very long procedure, the following effort is made to make this process to understand in short.

Under the ECA and ECR, for the purpose of issuance of Environmental Clearance Certificate, the industrial units and projects have been classified under 4 categories: a) Green b) Orange A c) Orange B d) Red. The category is based on the location and its impact on the environment. Regarding impact, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is well recognized under Environment Conservation Rules which is regarded as a toll of ensuring sustainable environment. According to rule 7, the Environment Impact Assessment report is a must for establishing a Red category industry. The industries which fall under the Red category are important for the economy of the country. But these industries have a wider chance of destruction of our environment. So before establishing any industry it is required to find out that how much is it going to cause pollution and how can it be mitigated.

From the rules it is seen that the green category industries are less harmful to environment friendly than the orange A category. Accordingly the Orange B category industries are less harmful to environment than Red categories. The red categories are potentially hazardous industries. Under the ECA and ECR, it is compulsory for both old and new industrial units to apply for an ECC prior to commencing production. The steps involved in gaining an ECC are described below.

Process of Obtaining an Environment Clearance certificate
An ECC is issued to green category industries upon application. But orange A, orange B and red category industries are generally required to first obtain a Site Clearance Certificate (SCC) before they can apply for an ECC. However the ECR do provide the DG with the discretionary authority to grant exemption from securing a SCC and simply to apply for the ECC though this rarely happens. The SCC application process requires the owner or representative of an industry to apply to the Divisional Officer in Charge at the Department of Environment. The application involves the completion of a short form (Form-3) of ECR, several supporting documents, which vary depending on whether the industry is new or an existing one and the appropriate fee.

For proposed industrial units a Feasibility Report is required, this should give information on the type of industry and also provide evidence that the proposed plan for establishing the Industry is “feasible “in terms of current technology, economies and social needs. Again they have to submit the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) report including process flow diagram, layout plan and design of the Effluent Plant (ETP) of their unit.

When these documents are submitted, the SCC will be issued within 30 days to Orange A category or within 60 days to Orange B and Red category industry. After receiving the SCC, Orange A and Orange B categorical units can undertake land, infrastructure and machinery development and apply for the ECC. But Red category units have to submit the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and IEE report to the DOE for approval. If they are approved within 60 working days the unit may open its later of credit for importing machinery and apply for the ECC.

When the applications of all these categories are submitted with proper documents, the ECC will be issued within 30 working days to Orange A categorical unit or within 60 working days to the Orange B and Red categorical units or their application will be rejected mentioning the reasons.

Existing industries will go through a different procedure to obtain the ECC. They must submit Environment Management Plan (EMP) of the unit including process flow diagram and layout plan showing the location of the proposed ETP, as well as its design and information about the effectiveness of the proposed ETP.

The documentation for proposed and existing units must also include a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the local authority (the Union Parishad Chairman or the Ward commissioner), and must provide an emergency plan outlining what action would be taken to rehabilitate the site should a major accident, such as a chemical spill or explosion, take place. Under the amended section 12 of ECA along with EIA and EMP, consideration of public opinion and the information given to the people about the whole process are to be mentioned in detail. The period of validity of an ECC for red category industries is one year, and the application letter to DOE requesting permission for renewal and the previous copy of the ECC. These are all about the process of getting an ECC. It must be remembered that a failure to comply with any part of the ECA may result in punishment.

The writer is a Student of Law, University of Dhaka and works with Law Desk.




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