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| Last Updated:: 22/01/2016


Q: What does ENVIS stands for?

A: ENVIS Stands for Environment Information System

Q: What is ENVIS?

A: Environmental information plays a vital role not only in formulating environmental management policies but also in the decision making process aiming at environmental protection and improvement of environment for sustaining good quality of life for the living beings. Hence, management of environment is key component and thus plays an important role in effecting a balance between the demands and resources available for keeping the environmental quality at a satisfactory level. Realizing such need Ministry set up an Environmental Information System (ENVIS) in 1983 as a plan programme as a comprehensive network in environmental information collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to varying users, which include decision-makers, researchers, academicians, policy planners and research scientists, etc. ENVIS was conceived as a distributed information network with the subject-specific centers to carry out the mandates and to provide the relevant and timely information to all concerned. Further, association of the various State Governments/UTs was also felt necessary in promoting the ENVIS network to cover a wide range of subjects. The subject area for States/UTs ENVIS Centers was the status of environment and related issues. Thus, the network was expanded gradually with the involvement of thematic subject-areas and State Government/UT departments to make it a more comprehensive environmental information network. ENVIS network at present consists of a chain of 67 network partners out of which 39 are on subject-specific and 28 on State/UT related issues. These network partners are called ENVIS Centers and are located in the notable organizations/institutions/State/UT Government Departments/Universities throughout the country. The focal point of ENVIS is located in the Ministry and assists the Environment Information (EI) Division in coordinating the activities of all the ENVIS network partners by making ENVIS a web-enabled comprehensive information system.

Q: What is the total number of ENVIS centres?

A: There are total 76 ENVIS Centres all over India, which are assigned with different subjects and topics.

Q: Why is there a need for a Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011?

A: The Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued the Coastal Regulation Zone CRZ) Notification on 19.2.1991 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, with the aim to provide comprehensive measures for the protection and on servation of our coastal environment. However, over the last two decades the following issues emerged while implementing the 1991 Notification:


  •  The 1991 Notification stipulated uniform regulations for the entire Indian coastline which includes 5500 Km coastline of the mainland and 2000 Km of coastline of the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. It, therefore, failed to take into account that the Indian coastline is highly diverse in terms of biodiversity, hydrodynamic conditions, demographic patterns, natural resources, geomorphological and geological features.
  •  In the 1991 Notification, no clear procedure for obtaining CRZ clearance was laid down and no time lines stipulated. Furthermore, there was no format given for the submission of clearance applications.
  • It may be noted that the 1991 Notification, also did not provide a post clearance monitoring mechanism or a clear cut enforcement mechanism to check violations.
  •  The 1991 Notification sought to regulate all developmental activities in the inter-tidal area and within 500 metres on the landward side. No concrete steps were indicated in the 1991 Notification with regard to the pollution emanating from land based activities.
  •  The restrictive nature of the 1991 Notification caused hardships to the persons/ communities living in certain ecologically sensitive coastal stretches. These included slum dwellers and other persons living in dilapidated and unsafe buildings in Mumbai, communities living in islands in the backwaters of Kerala, local communities living along the coast of Goa and other traditional coastal inhabitants.

·        The 1991 Notification has been amended almost 25 times in consideration of requests made by various State Governments, Central Ministries, NGOs etc. In addition, there are also several office orders issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests clarifying certain provisions. The frequent changes to the 1991 Notification have been consolidated in the 2011 Notification.

           The 2011 Notification takes into account and address all the above issues in a comprehensive manner, relying on the recommendations made in the “Final Frontier” Report by the Committee chaired by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan on Coastal Regulation and the findings of the various consultations held in various coastal States and Union territories. The Minister of State (I/C) personally presided over the consultations in Goa, Chennai, Puri, Kochi and Mumbai.

Q: What are the objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011?

A: The main objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 are:

  •  To ensure livelihood security to the fishing communities and other local communities living in the
  •  To conserve and protect coastal stretches and;
  •  To promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas and sea level rise due to global warming.

Q: What are the new provisions contained in the 2011 Notification to benefit the fisher-folk community?

A: Since the fishing communities traditionally live in the coastal areas, they have been given primary importance when drafting the CRZ Notification 2011.

One of the stated objectives of the Notification is “to ensure livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities, living in the coastal areas and to promote development through sustainable manner based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas, sea level rise due to global warming.”

The following are the provisions in the 2011 Notification that address the issues relating to fishermen community:-

Water area up to 12 nautical miles and the tidal influenced water bodies have been included under the Coastal Regulation Zone areas in order to:

  •  Control the discharge of untreated sewage, effluents and the disposal of solid wastes as such activities endanger the fish and their ecosystem;
  •  Conserve and protect habitats in the marine area such as corals and coral reefs and associated biodiversity, marine sanctuaries and biosphere reserves, sea grass beds etc. which act as spawning, nursery and rearing grounds for fish and fisheries;
  •  Regulate activities in the marine and coastal waters such as dredging, sand mining, discharge of waste from ships, construction like groynes, breakwaters, etc. including reclamation which have serious impacts on fishing and allied activities;

·        Enable studies of the coastal and marine waters with regard to the impact of climate change and the occurrence of disasters which have serious impacts on the livelihood and property of the fisher-folk communities;

It may be noted that no restrictions are being imposed on any fishing activities and allied activities of the traditional fishing communities in this area.

  •  At several coastal stretches of the country the fi shermen and their dwelling units are in danger due to erosion which is occurring primarily due to manmade activities. The development of such manmade foreshore activities shall be regulated after identifying and demarcating the coast as falling in the high eroding category, the medium eroding category or the stable sites category.
  •  While preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plans the infrastructures essential for fishing communities must be clearly demarcated and fishing Zones in the water bodies and the fish breeding areas shall also be clearly marked.
  • The 2011 Notification requires the Coastal Zone Management Authorities to invite comments on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan from stakeholders. This will ensure that for the fi rst time, local communities including fishermen communities will have a say in the preparation of the CZMPs.
  •  The Notification allows infrastructural facilities for the local fishing communities to be constructed in the CRZ-III area.
  •  Reconstruction, repair works of dwelling units of local communities including fisheries in accordance with local Town and Country Planning Regulations has been made permissible.
  •  In CRZ-III areas where 0-200 metres is a No Development Zone (NDZ), to meet The demands of dwelling units of traditional coastal communities including 8 fisher-folk, the NDZ has been reduced to 100 metres. Hence, dwelling units of such communities can be constructed 100-200 metres from High Tide Line along the seafront with the approval of the State Government and the MoEF.

Q: Which are the Ramsar Sites in Kerala?

A: The important Ramsar cites in Kerala are:


Q: Which are the biosphere reserves in Kerala?

A: The Indian government has established 17 Biosphere Reserves of India, which protect larger areas of natural and often include one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to some economic uses. Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life. Of these two were located in Kerala.They are

  •  Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
  •  Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve

Q: What is biodiversity?

A: Biodiversity is a short term for biological diversity. The term includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Although it is very common to use biodiversity as short hand for species, it actually means everything from genetic material to entire ecosystem and the relationships among those different species of the whole. Biodiversity is the foundation of all life on earth and without it we cannot survive. It underpins functioning ecosystems, which provide food, water, medicines and a host of cultural and spiritual values that allow people to thrive. Biodiversity can be described as the fabric of life. When one thread is lost, the entire fabric starts to disintegrate.

Q: What is the state of the world’s biodiversity?

A: The world’s biodiversity is in deep crisis. We are currently living the greatest extinction crisis since dinosaurs roamed on Earth. . It is estimated that one species is drive to extinction every 20 minutes. This is 100‐1,000 times faster than the historical average. Recent reports show that world governments failed to meet the targets to reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. These reports show that the indicators of the state of biodiversity, like species extinctions, are in decline, whereas the pressures on the environment, like deforestation and overfishing, are increasing.

Q: What are the main threats to biodiversity?

A: The primary threat to biodiversity around the world is currently habitat loss. Agricultural expansion, energy production and urban development destroy forests on land, while unsafe fishing practices and coastal development destroy critical marine ecosystems like mangroves.

Q: What is an ecosystem?

A: An ecosystem is all the life in a given area, plus all the non‐living, physical constituents (air, water, soil, and so forth) that interact with the life. Put another way, an ecosystem is an ecological unit made up of life and the stuff that surrounds it. A coral reef, for example, is an ecosystem. So is a tropical forest, a vast swath of tundra, a desert, and the deep sea.

Q: What is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)?

A: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international legally‐binding treaty with three main goals: conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of biodiversity; fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Its overall objective is to encourage actions which will lead to a sustainable future.

Q: What are Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)?

A: Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are globally important sites for biodiversity conservation which contain threatened and/or geographically restricted species. These sites are identified at the national level using globally standardized criteria based on their importance in maintaining species populations. KBAs are the foundation of conservation planning; stakeholders can use them as a tool for identifying national and international networks of critical conservation sites.

Q: What is the species diversity in Kerala coast?

A: The marine biodiversity of Kerala coast is represented by over 5,000 species, including 17 species of marine mammals, 66 species of coastal and marine birds, 9 species of reptiles (turtles and sea snakes), 740 species of fish, 9 species of tunicates 64 species of echinoderms, 1,000 species of arthropods (copepods, amphipods, isopods, prawns, crabs, lobsters, etc), 250 species of molluscs, 20 species of annelids, 90 species of bryozoans, 26 species of cnidarians, 30 species of sponges, 50 species of protistans, 92 species of sea weeds, and several species of organisms in other categories. The investigations on many minor phyla occurring along the Kerala coast are far from complete.

Q: When is United Nations Decade on Biodiversity?

A: The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011-2020 the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (Resolution 65/161). The UN Decade on Biodiversity serves to support and promote implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, with the goal of significantly reducing biodiversity loss. More details at

Q: What is ISBEID?

A: The Indian State Level Basic Environment Information Database (ISBEID) is a web enabled software developed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India under the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Project. The software is to enable the State ENVIS Centre’s on Status of Environment and Related Issues to feed data directly into the database server using the web-interface in the ENVIS Portal.

Q: What is IUCN?

A: IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

Q: How have the coastal zones been classified under the 2011 Notification?

A: In the 1991 Notification the CRZ area was classified as CRZ-I (ecological sensitive), CRZ-II (built-up area), CRZ-III (Rural area) and CRZ-IV (water area). In the 2011 Notification the above classification is retained. The only change is the inclusion pf CRZ-IV, which includes the water areas up to the territorial waters and the tidal-influenced water bodies. For the very first time, a separate draft Island Protection Zone Notification has been issued for protection of the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Q: What are the coastal areas that qualify as falling within the CRZ-I category?

A: The CRZ Notification, 2011 clearly lists out the areas that fall within the category of CRZ-I. It includes:-

(i) Ecologically sensitive areas and the geomorphological features that play a primary role in maintaining the integrity of the coast.

v   50  Mangroves, in case mangrove area is more than 1000 square metres, a buffer area of  meters shall be provided;

v   Corals and coral reefs and associated biodiversity;

v   Sand Dunes;

v   Mudflats which are biologically active;

v   National parks, marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats and other protected areas under the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (69 of 1980) or Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986); including Biosphere Reserves encompassing;

v   Salt Marshes;

v   Turtle nesting grounds;

v   Horse shoe crabs habitats;

v   Sea grass beds;

v   Nesting grounds of birds;

v   Areas or structures of archaeological importance and heritage site

 (ii) The area between Low Tide Line and High Tide Line.


Q: What is a tsunami?

A: The name Tsunami, from the Japanese words tsu meaning harbour and nami meaning wave, is now used internationally to describe a series of waves travelling across the ocean. These waves have extremely long wavelengths, up to hundreds of kilometres between wave crests in the deep ocean. In the past, tsunamis have been referred to as 'tidal waves' or 'seismic sea waves'. The term 'tidal wave' is misleading. Even though a tsunami's impact upon a coastline is dependent on the tidal level at the time a tsunami strikes, tsunamis are unrelated to the tides. Tides result from the gravitational influences of the moon, sun and planets. The term 'seismic sea wave' is also misleading. Seismic implies an earthquake-related generation mechanism. Earthquakes are only one of several ways that a tsunami can be generated. Tsunamis can also be caused by events such as underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, land slumping into the ocean, meteorite impacts, or even the weather when the atmospheric pressure changes very rapidly. 

 Q: How are tsunamis generated?

A: The most common cause of tsunamis is an undersea earthquake that results in a sudden rise or fall of a section of the earth's crust under or near the ocean. This earthquake creates an explosive vertical motion that can displace the overlying water column, creating a rise or fall in the level of the ocean above. This rise or fall in sea level is the initial impulse that generates a tsunami wave. 

Q: What type of earthquake generates a tsunami? 


A: Tsunamis are typically generated by earthquakes that occur along subduction zones. A subduction zone is an area on the earth where two tectonic plates meet and move towards one another, with one sliding underneath the other and moving down into the earth at rates typically measured in centimetres per year. 

Q: Where and how frequently are tsunamis generated?


A: Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The boundary of the Pacific Ocean, known as the Ring of Fire, experiences frequent earthquakes. There are two major subduction zones in the Indian Ocean that can also generate tsunamis. The frequency of tsunamis is variable across the globe and over time. In the two years after the event of 26 December 2004 the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued 52 tsunami alerts for six tsunamia, two of which resulted in significant loss of life. The major Japan (Tohoku) tsunami event of 11 March 2011 killed over 20,000 people. 

Q: How are tsunamis detected?

A: Typically, earthquakes that may generate a tsunami are detected through a network of seismic monitoring stations. Any resulting tsunamis are then verified by sea-level monitoring stations and deep ocean tsunami detection buoys. The seismic monitoring stations can determine the location and depth of earthquakes that have the potential to cause tsunamis. The sea-level gauges and deep ocean tsunami detection buoys then measure any abnormal changes in sea level to verify if a tsunami has been generated.


Q: What are the warning signs of a tsunami?


A: A shaking of the ground in coastal regions may reflect the occurrence of a large undersea earthquake nearby that may generate a tsunami. As a tsunami approaches shorelines, the sea may, but not always, withdraw from the beach (like a very low and fast tide) before returning as a fast-moving tsunami. A roaring sound may precede the arrival of a tsunami.

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