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A Critical Review of the Adequacy of EIA Reports-Evidence from Pakistan

Authors: Obaidullah Nadeem, Rizwan Hameed


The preparation of good-quality Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports contribute to enhancing overall effectiveness of EIA. This component of the EIA process becomes more important in situation where public participation is weak and there is lack of expertise on the part of the competent authority. In Pakistan, EIA became mandatory for every project likely to cause adverse environmental impacts from July 1994. The competent authority also formulated guidelines for preparation and review of EIA reports in 1997. However, EIA is yet to prove as a successful decision support tool to help in environmental protection. One of the several reasons of this ineffectiveness is the generally poor quality of EIA reports. This paper critically reviews EIA reports of some randomly selected projects. Interviews of EIA consultants, project proponents and concerned government officials have also been conducted to underpin the root causes of poor quality of EIA reports. The analysis reveals several inadequacies particularly in areas relating to identification, evaluation and mitigation of key impacts and consideration of alternatives. The paper identifies some opportunities and suggests measures for improving the quality of EIA reports and hence making EIA an effective tool to help in environmental protection.

Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA Guidelines, EIA Reports, Pakistan.

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