Felling of trees in an eco-sensitive zone shall be regulated and extraction of ground water may be allowed for bona-fide agricultural and domestic consumption.

Regulations and restrictions on a series of activities including construction have been proposed in the eco sensitive zone of the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary (MBS).

The proposals are part of the draft notification prepared by the State Forest Department for declaring some areas around the MBS as an Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ).

No new wood-based industrial units and polluting or highly polluting industrial units will be permitted within one kilometre of the ESZ of the MBS and no construction activities will be allowed in the ESZ. The quarrying and mining and crushing activities shall also not be permitted. The use of striking colours on buildings, focus lights on high rises and the use of reflective materials on windows of buildings should also be restricted, according to the draft notification.

The Forest department has identified the holdings of five agencies including the Southern Railway, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Kerala Housing Development Corporation, Hindustan Lever Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum, which are located adjacent to the MBS to be proposed as the ESZ.

Felling of trees in an eco-sensitive zone shall be regulated and extraction of ground water may be allowed for bona-fide agricultural and domestic consumption. However, no sale of ground water will be allowed except with the prior approval of the Ground Water Department.

The Forest Department shall draw up guidelines and regulations for the control of noise in the Eco Sensitive Zone and no untreated or industrial effluent shall be permitted to be discharged into any water body within the ESZ. The treated effluents must meet the standards set by the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, it has been suggested.

The draft proposals has entrusted with the local body, the task of preparing a plan for segregation of solid wastes into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components from the area.

While the biodegradable material may be recycled through composting or vermi-culture, inorganic material may be disposed in an environmentally acceptable manner at site identified outside the ESZ. No burning or incineration of solid waste shall be permitted in the zone.

It has also been proposed to formulate a zonal master plan for the ESZ within one year from the date of publication of the notification. The plan shall provide for restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, ground water management, soil and moisture conservation, needs of local community and other aspects of the ecology and environment that needs attention.

It has also been suggested that for activities requiring environmental clearance, such activities shall be referred to the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority constituted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

The MBS, with an area of 2.74 hectare, was notified as Bird sanctuary in 2004 and is managed by the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Nature Study Centre, Kalady.

It has been proposed to ban the disposal of plastic articles and regulate the use of plastic carry bags within the zone. A 10-member monitoring committee has also been suggested for the zone.

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