Home Articles Scope of usage/implementation of “Zoning Atlas” results

Scope of usage/implementation of “Zoning Atlas” results

N. Raghu Babu
Environmental Engineer, Central Pollution Control Board

The main activities under the “Zoning Atlas” programme of CPCB include:

  1. Environmental Atlas of India
  2. Mapping of Environmentally Sensitive Zones and Industrial Sites – State-wise
  3. Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries – District-wise
  4. Industrial Estate Planning
  5. Environmental Management Plan for Urban Areas

A brief description of the activities is given below.

  1. Environmental Atlas of India
    The Environmental Atlas of India is a compilation of all the environmentally related information presented in the form of maps and text including statistical data. This Atlas is targeted for completion during the year 2000.
  2. Mapping of Environmentally Sensitive Zones and Industrial Sites – State-wise
    This activity aims at presenting the information on environmentally sensitive zones viz. national parks, reserved forests, protected forests etc. and industrial sites, state-wise, in the form of maps. These maps will prove to be a good data-base and will be highly useful in taking decisions on industrial sites. Work has so far been taken up for 15 States.
  3. Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries – District-wise
    The Zoning Atlas for siting of industries, zones and classifies the environment in a District and presents the pollution receiving potential of various sites/zones in the District and the possible alternate sites for industries, through easy-to-read maps. The industrial zones are identified based on the sensitivity and pollution receiving potential of the District. The risks/impacts due to industrial pollution can be minimised if the siting of industries is done based on the Zoning Atlas.

    The pilot studies on preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting of industries taken up during 1995 in the 19 Districts covering 14 States were extended to 42 Districts in 16 States during 1997-98. About 100 more priority Districts will be covered by 2001.

  4. Industrial Estate Planning
    As a continuation of Zoning Atlas study, the industrial estate planning studies are being taken up at a more micro-level (1:50,000 and lower) to come up with sites for industrial estates. These studies will be highly useful to the State Government Departments such as the Industrial Departments responsible for industrial development. The studies have so far been taken up for 15 sites.
  5. Environmental Management Plan for Urban Areas
    The urban agglomerations in India are rapidly growing in terms of size, population and developmental activities. There has been increasing trend of pollution and environmental impacts. The studies help in improving the quality of life and environment through planning measures. A pilot study on Kanpur had successfully been completed by CPCB.

Also, to bridge the gap between ‘environment’ and ‘urban planning’ a series of training programmes are being conducted by CPCB for the planners from the Planning/Development Authorities.

The scope of implementation of the results of the above activities are given below.

  1. Environmental Atlas of India – can be used a reference material for environment related information on India.
  2. Mapping of Environmentally Sensitive Zones and Industrial Sites – State-wise – Information on environmentally sensitive zones and existing industrial locations presented on the maps will give a overview of the situation in the State. The maps can be used for broad policy decisions related to environmental protection and siting of future industrial estates. These maps can also be very useful while preparing State level development plans.

  • Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries – District-wise – The main users of the District Atlases include the government, the industrialists, the (environmental) regulatory agencies and the public. Details are given below.

    State Pollution Control Board:

    • The Atlas is useful in granting NOC or consent to establish industries as it provides thematic information on the characteristics of the Districts, on the environmental sensitivity and site suitability. Such information can be used for taking right decisions on issuing NOC or consent to establish an industry or development project.
    • It helps in taking right decisions on industrial siting in shorter time and makes the process faster and transparent.
    • The Atlas can be used for restricting certain types of industries or processes in certain areas within the District, if the situation so warrants.
    • With the help of the Atlas, the industries falling within sensitive areas can be identified and pollution control programmes can be planned accordingly.
    • It helps in notifying site-specific environmental standards so that the entrepreneurs are aware well in advance of the regulatory requirements, costs involved and the risks associated.
    • SPCB can plan in advance pollution monitoring programs using the thematic information such as drainage, land use, etc. The sites for air & water quality monitoring stations can be established more judiciously. Also, the density of stations and the parameters to be monitored can be determined.
    • The Atlas can be used for selection of candidate sites for hazardous waste disposal. The Atlas has thematic information for making a rapid assessment for identifying sites available for hazardous waste disposal. Further investigations carried out for the candidate sites at the micro-level to arrive at final suitable sites.
    • It is useful in preparing guidelines for siting of industries and other development projects. The experiences from Zoning Atlas studies should be used for formulating siting guidelines applicable to different parts of the State.
    • It can be used for effective implementation of environmental regulations. (Requirements of manpower, monitoring equipment and laboratory facilities, budget, etc. in the Regional/Zonal offices can be planned depending on the environmental sensitivity of the District and the current risk levels)

    Industries Department:

    • With the help of Zoning Atlas, the Industries Department can identify environmentally sound sites for setting up of industrial estates, growth centres etc. as the Atlas provides information on alternate zones available. By incorporating the economic considerations such as the availability of raw material, transportation network, water supply, electricity, waste disposal facilities, government owned land etc., the candidate sites can be identified for which detailed micro-level investigations can be carried out to identify final sites.
    • It helps in deciding the type and extent of industrial development at a given site/zone, well in advance, and to make the entrepreneur aware of such sites.
    • Industrial policy can be formulated based on the characteristics of the District and its environmental sensitivity. The industrialisation potential can be assessed and accordingly a policy on the type of industrial development can be formulated and announced.

    Planning Department:

    • The Zoning Atlas provides input for regional plans, as it contains the thematic maps and the final map forms which are very useful inputs for preparation of regional plans.
    • It can help in effective land use planning around the industrial zones based on the risks associated with these zones.

    Industrialists, Industry Associations, Entrepreneurs:

    • It will help in identifying the most suitable industrial site, as the Atlas provides guidelines for selecting a site based on environmental considerations. The entrepreneurs can identify the most suitable site considering both environmental as well as economic considerations.
    • The entrepreneur can decide on the extent of industrial activity in advance as the Atlas gives the entrepreneur a clue on the pollution load coming up in the area and the litigation risks he might be put to.
    • It will be helpful to decide upon the pollution control equipment, as the sensitive areas need state-of-the-art process technologies and elaborate and costlier pollution control systems.


    • It will help the public to participate in the decision making process, as the information provided in the Atlas makes them understand the environmental situation. They can accordingly participate in decision making process.
    • It helps in knowing about the type of industrial development and potential risks coming up in their neighbourhood in advance and help them to express their concerns in formulating an industrial development policy for the area.

  • Industrial Estate Planning
    The industrial estate planning studies help in identifying a site for setting up of the industrial estate and provide inputs for deciding on the type of industries permissible in the estate, the type of pollution abatement infrastructure required and the land use controls required around the estate.

    The studies will be directly useful to the agencies entrusted with the task of development of industrial estates. The studies will save considerable costs for conducting project-specific EIA studies by the individual industries coming up in the estate. The studies will make it easy for the regulatory agencies in clearing the sites for the setting up of estates. These studies will ensure that the environmental risks are minimised from the activities in the estate. The land use controls needed will provide inputs to the planning agencies for providing supporting facilities such as residential areas for housing.

  • Environmental Management Plan for Urban Areas
    The studies will form an input for the Master Plans of the cities. The studies will be highly useful for the planning agencies, the local body, the industries department and the regulatory agencies. The studies will help improving living conditions in the urban areas addressing to the following :
    • the city structure (planning);
    • air quality management;
    • water quality management; and
    • solid waste management.