The environment ministry has declared the first marine eco-sensitive zone around Marine National Park in Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat, thereby prohibiting any industrial activity in the area. It would also mean stringent environmental regulations will apply for developmental works in 36 villages and 31 rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea.
The ministry in a notification issued on Monday, declared 313 sq km around the park as an eco-sensitive zone. Of this, 208 sq km is on the landward side while the remaining is on the seaside and covers 0-5 km of the length of the 31 rivers.
The notification says that change of land use to allow recreational, commercial or industrial development will not be permitted in the area except for residential purpose. Mining, including fresh water mining, and release of polluted water and waste will also be prohibited.
“Even expansion of existing industries and fishing by trawlers won’t be allowed,” the ministry official said, adding that stringent air pollution norms will apply at existing jetties. The ministry has also directed the government to prepare a zonal ecology conservation master plan in consultation with people living in these 36 villages.
The plan should provide for restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, management of catchment areas, watershed ‘management, groundwater and soil conservation.