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5) The recently approved policy, allowing exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons in contract areas that were primarily allocated for extracting conventional hydrocarbons, is fraught with many environmental problems. Comment.(250 words)

Topic –  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) The recently approved policy, allowing exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons in contract areas that were primarily allocated for extracting conventional hydrocarbons, is fraught with many environmental problems. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The policy has important implications for the environment especially the water resources which are already highly stressed in our country. It is therefore essential to discuss the issue.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to form an opinion as to whether the given policy poses some environmental problems. We have to build our opinion based on a proper discussion highlighting how the policy does/ does not pose problems for the environment.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about the recent policy of allowing private and government players to explore and exploit unconventional hydrocarbons (including shale gas) in contract areas that were primarily allocated for extracting conventional hydrocarbons.

Body-

Discuss in points what are the environmental problems posed by such a policy decision. E.g , a mixture of ‘pressurised water, chemicals, and sand’ (shale fluid) is required to break low permeable rocks in order to unlock the shale gas reserves. The process requires around 5 to 9 million litres of water per extraction activity, posing a daunting challenge to India’s fresh water resources; pollution due to the disposal of flowback (produced) water; No differentiation has been made in the EIA notification between conventional and unconventional oil and gas exploration in this sector; MoEFCC is yet to come out with a manual specific to fracking activities; shale fluid could possibly penetrate aquifers leading to methane poisoning of groundwater used for drinking and irrigation purposes etc.

ConclusionBased on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

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