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Zoning atlas for siting of industries on environmental aspects – A case study of district Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh

Prabhat Chaturvedi

For Sustainable industrial development, the need of the hour is judicious, reasonable and planned use of the finite resources of land according to their natural environmental properties. To cater to this need, the preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting of industries, based on environmental considerations has been conceived. The Zoning Atlas is not only the solution for all the problems caused by haphazard industrial siting, but tackles the cause of the problem itself. The Zoning Atlas identifies suitable sites for siting of industries based on environmental considerations. The environmental parameters and conditions are evaluated and quantified and the suitability of sites is determined based on their sensitivity to air, water and land pollution. Economic development and industrialization have become synonymous and are integral part of regional planning of a country. There is a need that apart from preventive measures, proper siting of industries / industrial estates should be done, especially in countries like India where the process of planned industrialization is still in its initial stage. Thus, environmental planning is a proven tool for achieving sustainable development. Proper siting of newly planned industries & industrial estates is a strong pollution preventive instrument that ensures environmental soundness of the industrial development. Site selection based on environmental criteria with the objective of minimizing adverse environmental impacts is, therefore, a vital prerequisite.

Environmental Planning in India
The need for the environmental administration of India to become active in the field of environmental planning is founded in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which authorizes the Central and State Government ” to have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution” [3 (1)]. Measures under this clause may include “planning and execution of a nation-wide program for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution [3 (2), (ii)]. This task of environmental management includes spatial (geographical) aspects as explicitly mentioned under [3 (2), (v)] “restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards”.

This clause calls for a spatial approach in environment management further substantiated in the Environment (Protection) Rules which states that such restrictions be carried out under consideration of “Environmentally compatible land use” [5 (1), (vi)]. Since, the carrying capacity of the environment is not unlimited and some areas or ecosystems are more susceptible to adverse environmental impacts than others, the unplanned and haphazard location of industries might substantially increase the risk to the environment. Environmental planning is a proven tool for reducing the impacts from such risks. However, this tool has seldom been used in this country. Proper siting of newly planned industries and industrial estates is a strong pollution preventive instrument that ensures environmental soundness of the industrial development.

Present Scenario
There are many disadvantages in the present practice of not defining industrial areas, such as:

  • The entrepreneur has no knowledge of the environmental conditions and consequences of his industry which depends on the site selected. He may land up investing in an environmentally extremely sensitive site and consequently might find it difficult in getting clearance from the regulatory authority.
  • Depending on the location specificity, an industry may have to provide more elaborate and costlier pollution control equipment to meet more stringent standards than those permissible, in order to avoid adverse impacts caused by extreme site sensitivity.
  • The pollution control equipment provided by an industry may not perform efficiently and with reliability because of factors beyond control and hence there is a risk of pollution.
  • Due to scattered industrial development, combined treatment or disposal facilities, that may be much more economical and effective than providing facilities by industries individually, cannot be provided.
  • Pollution control programs can not be planned effectively with perspective due to haphazard development. Also, decision making becomes difficult due to unplanned development.
  • Due to increasing public awareness on environmental aspects and due to the risks involved in isolated location, an industry is under pressure for compliance with stringent standards and the regulatory authorities are forced to take up immediate action.

What is Zoning Atlas ?
The Zoning Atlas for siting of industries, zones and classifies the environment in District Ghaziabad and presents the pollution receiving potential of various sites/zones in the District Ghaziabad and the possible alternate sites for industries through easy-to-read maps in the scale of 1:2,50,000. The methodology involves preparation of maps of various themes viz. Characteristics of the District Ghaziabad, Air pollution, Water pollution etc. and uses of overlay procedure & GIS ( Geographical Information System ) for arriving at sites which are most suitable for industrial development. The scale for preparation of various maps is selected as 1:2,50,000 (1cm = 2.5km).

Zoning is a legalized and institutionalized form of land use management. It entails geographical delineation and classification of lands into several categories i.e. zones by a duly authorized regulatory agency with the effect that for each of the different zones their use is regulated. The objectives of preparing a Zoning Atlas for siting of industries are :

  • to zone and classify the environment in a District;
  • to identify locations for siting of industries; and
  • to identify industries suitable to the identified sites.

With an objective of promoting sustainable and planned development, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board in consultation with Central Pollution Control Board – Delhi has prepared the first Zoning Atlas for Siting of Industries (based on environmental considerations) for District Ghaziabad, under pilot phase with the help of GIS. This document is now a public priced document, which is available with Central Pollution Control Board – Delhi, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board – Lucknow and the Environmental Planning Cell at Regional Office, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board – Meerut.

Benefits of the Zoning Atlas
The Zoning Atlas, in addition to streamlining the decision-making process has several benefits some of which are briefed below:

  • provides a ready-reckoner for best suitable site and relevant environmental information;
  • makes decision-making process simpler, faster, realistic, transparent and reliable;
  • provides a basis for incorporating environmental aspects into physical (land use) planning process that is lacking in the country;
  • helps in planning cost-effective pollution control measures and programs ;
  • helps an entrepreneur in readily finding out the location best suited to site an industry thereby saving time, efforts, investment and risk instead of heading for an unknown site, conducting environmental impact assessment and awaiting clearance by the regulatory authorities;
  • helps develop infrastructure facilities, such as roads, water supply, electricity etc. and provide common waste treatment and disposal facilities;
  • helps check additional pollution in the areas already over-stressed with pollution;
  • ensures that pollution potential of an industry is made compatible with the local conditions of the site;
  • ensures that an industry, with high pollution potential desiring to locate in a high risk area, will have to adopt clean technologies for manufacturing process so as to prevent generation of wastes/pollution thereby making it compatible with the receiving environment;
  • helps in increasing awareness of the public on type of industries and nature of pollution anticipated in their neighborhood well in advance; and
  • helps achieve sustainable development.

A Tool for Decision-making
The Zoning Atlas for siting of industries will help in decision-making at various levels including the Government ? Central & State, the industry, the regulatory authorities and the general public. The type of decisions that can be taken at various levels are :

  • The Government :
  • Notification of industrial area;
  • Decision on the type of industrial development;
  • Restriction of growth of certain industries in specific areas.
  • The Entrepreneur :
  • For location of an industry, economic factors such as availability of raw materials, water supply, electricity, labour etc. and the environmental factors are to be considered. From the Zoning Atlas, an entrepreneur can find out the suitable locations in District and then work out feasibility and economic viability of siting industry in these locations. Accordingly, a decision can be taken on the best suitable location.
  • The Regulatory Authorities :
  • Decision on the suitability of an industry to a particular site;
  • Notification of site specific standards;
  • Provision of common pollution treatment and disposal facilities;
  • Plan well in advance pollution monitoring and control programs.
  • The Public :
  • The public through the Zoning Atlas, will know the locations of industrial development, the type of industries that are likely to come up and the anticipated pollution in their neighborhood.




Study Area
The District Ghaziabad (including Noida and Greater Noida i.e. part of District Gautam Budh Nagar) covering an area of 2590 sq. Km lies between 28°26′ and 28°54′ North latitudes and 77°12′ and 78°13′ East longitude. The shape of the District resembles an uprooted tree with its canopy being towards west and trunk towards east touching Ganga river. The District is located in the extreme western part of the Uttar Pradesh State and is bounded by District Meerut in the north, and in the south by District Bulandshar, River Ganga forms the natural boundary in the east, separating it from District Moradabad. River Yamuna forms the western boundary in parts. Delhi is in the west of Ghaziabad. The District has been sub-divided into five Tehsils of Garhmukteshwar, Hapur, Modinagar, Ghaziabad and Dadri. These Tehsils have been further sub divided into ten development Blocks of Garhmukteshwar, Simbhaoli, Hapur, Dhaulana, Bhojpur, Muradnagar, Rajpur, Loni, Bisrakh, and Dadri. As per the census report (1991), there are 704 villages, 7 towns having nagar palika (Ghaziabad, Modinagar, Pilkhua, Hapur, Muradnagar, Dadri, and Garhmukteshwar), and 7 towns having town area committees (Dasna, Begumabad, Faridnagar, Patla, Niwari, Loni, and Babugarh).

The total area under these urban agglomerations is 148.2 sq. kms. The Total population as per 1991 census is 27,55,000, out of which the rural population is 14,76,535 and urban population is 12,79,000, meaning there by 46% population of the District resides in the urban areas. This is causing a tremendous stress on the limited urban areas. The average population density for the District is of the order of 497.2 persons/sq.km for rural areas but for urban areas the density is as high as 863.0 person/sq.km. Ghaziabad is one of the highly industrialized District of Uttar Pradesh. Nature has been very generous to Ghaziabad. The land is very fertile, topography is plain and has abundance of good quality of groundwater. Besides the nature’s generosity, the District has a tremendous locational advantage being in proximity to Delhi. All these favourable factors have led to a very high and rapid growth of the District in terms of both population and industries. The Zoning Atlas of District Ghaziabad consists of a set of 18 maps portraying site characteristics such as land use, soil characteristics, land capability, air quality, water quality, sensitive zones etc. and the areas suitable for industrial development.

Major activities involved in preparation of Zoning Atlas
The major activities involved in preparation of the Zoning Atlas including use of GIS software are:

  • collection of data, maps and information from secondary sources;
  • preparation of base maps and various theme maps;
  • survey of the district and monitoring of air, surface water and groundwater;
  • discussion with various government officials;
  • digitisation of the maps;
  • presentation of the draft report and maps in front of state and district authorities;
  • preparation of the draft report;
  • review of the report, maps and recommendations by CPCB; and
  • preparation of the final report.

Maps prepared in the Zoning Atlas :
The maps in 1:2,50,000 scale (1 cm = 2.5 km) included in the Zoning Atlas are :

  • Characteristics of the District
    Base map, village reference map, land use map, physiography map, agricultural use and capability map (including irrigation map showing canal system), wastelands map, drainage map and location of existing industries.
  • Unsuitable zones
    Sensitive zones map (including forests, national parks, sanctuaries, monuments, flood prone areas, prime agricultural lands, etc.)
  • Air pollution related maps
    Air quality map, air pollution sensitivity map, risks due to siting of air polluting industries
  • Surface water related maps
    Watersheds map, surface water use map, surface water quality map, surface water flow map, surface water pollution sensitivity map, risks due to siting of water polluting industries
  • Groundwater (GW) related maps
    Ground water use map, Ground water quality map, Ground water potential map, Ground water table map, infiltration rate map, Ground water pollution sensitivity map, Risks due to siting of Ground water polluting activities (disposal of effluents or solid/hazardous wastes on land).
  • Alternate sites/zones
    Industrial suitability map (showing possible alternate sites for various types of industries)

Findings & Conclusions
Following five types of zones have been identified in the District :

  • ZONE-1 :Siting of any type of air and/or water polluting industries should not be allowed in these zones. Based on micro-level studies these zones may be considered for siting of industries with low air pollution potential and/or low water pollution potential. These zones are located in the western, and eastern parts of the district and are falling partly in Ghaziabad, Dadri, and Garhmukteshwar tehsil.
  • ZONE-2 :Industries having high water pollution potential and/or any type of air pollution potential should not be allowed in these zones. Based on micro level studies, siting of industries with very low air pollution potential, and/or medium or low water pollution potential may be considered. Only one very small zone, is in the district and is located near Muradnagar.
  • ZONE-3 :Industries having medium air pollution potential whose impact is not likely to exceed 2 km or industries having very low air pollution potential but not having any type of water pollution may be considered for siting in these zones. Industries with high air pollution potential or high or medium water pollution potential should not be allowed in these zones. These zones are in Modinagar, Dadri and Garhmukteshwar tehsils.
  • ZONE-4 :Industries having medium and/or low air pollution potential whose impact is not likely to exceed 2 km and/or having medium or low water pollution potential may be considered for siting in this zone. Industries with high air pollution potential or high water pollution potential should not be allowed in this zone. only one very very small zone is located in Modinagar tehsils.
  • ZONE-5 :Industries with any type of air pollution and also not having any water pollution potential may be considered for siting in this zone. However, based on micro-level studies, siting of industries with very very low pollution potential may also be considered. These are located in the Dadri and Garhmukteshwar tehsils.

Following sites have been recommended for developing Industrial area :

  • SITE – 1: It is near Loni. It is suitable for siting only those industries, which are having low air pollution potential and/or low water pollution potential.
  • SITE – 2: It is near kot on G.T. road. It is suitable for siting only those industries, which are having high/medium/low air pollution potential and/or low water pollution potential.

Thus, environmental planning is a proven tool for making a balance between the Industrial development & Environment. For Sustainable Industrial development of State; Govt. Of Uttar Pradesh has incorporated the Zoning Atlas studies in the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Policy’1998 and has committed through it that District-wise Zoning Atlases shall be prepared for the entire State so that the Industry can easily take the decisions regarding the location of the units and this will not only facilitate the issue of NOC’s and Consents by the Pollution Control Board, but also make the entire system transparent and free from exercise of discretion. Therefore, now co-ordination between all the concerned government departments and the regulatory authorities & serious involvement of the entrepreneurs and the public is the need of the hour for the sustainable industrial development.