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Zoning Atlas For Sitting Of Industries - An Environment Management Tool

Industrial development is an essential evil in the development of country like India. Industrialization results in environmental pollution by generating hazardous waste and has increases the risk to the Environment. The human settlements, the forests, water bodies and Air are more sensitive to Pollution and may degrade due to pollution. Therefore, Environmental planning is necessary to protect these sensitive areas.

Presently a proposed site for establishing an Industry is cleared by regulatory bodies by setting discharging / emission standards. However, this does not guarantee industries emit no Pollution. Also Pollution Control equipment's used in an industry to meet the standards prescribed by the Pollution Control Board may not perform all the time or at its desired level of efficiency.

It is the site that ultimately determines which water bodies might get affected by water pollution by an Industry so as which emission may affect Air quality. As a result nature balance may be harmed.

To overcome this Problem in future the MPCB in collaboration with Central Pollution control Board & GTZ (German Technical co operation) Germany are preparing district wise "Zoning Atlas for Sitting of Industries" in the state with financial assistance from world Bank under Environmental Management Capacity Building Project.

The Zoning Atlas for sitting of Industries, zones and classifies the environment in the district and presents the Pollution receiving potentials of various sites/zones and suggest the possible alternate sites for industry through easy to read maps.

Zoning Atlas
The Zoning Atlas for sitting of Industries, zones and classifies the environment in the district and presents the Pollution receiving potentials of various sites/zones and suggest the possible alternate sites for industry through easy to read maps.


  • To Zone and classify the environment in a district. 
  • To identify locations for sitting of industries and  
  • To identify locations for sitting of industries andTo identify industries suitable to the identified sites


The zoning atlas considers only the environmental aspects. For sitting of industries, both the economic factors, such as availability of raw materials, market for finished product, water supply, electricity labor availability etc and the environmental factors are to be considered. Assuming that the industry is the best

judge in identifying the sites best suitable from economic considerations. The industry may subsequently evaluate the site suitable from the both economic and environmental considerations. Non-consideration of environmental factors maximizes profits over a short period but consideration of environmental factors minimizes liabilities over a longer period. Due to increasing pollution, the environmental standards are being made more and more stringent with time.

The cost of pollution control investments in the industry are tremendously increasing, some times posing a great burden on the industry and adding to the risks of closer by the regulatory authorities Hence, the preparation of the zoning Atlas based on environmental considerations is relevant and justified.


  • Provides a ready-reckoner for best site and relevant environmental information 
  • Makes decision making process simpler, faster, realistic, transparent and reliable.    
  • Provides a basis for incorporating environmental aspects in to 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 impacts assessment and awaiting clearance by the regulatory authorities
  • Helps in developing infrastructures facilities, such as roads, water supply, electricity etc. and common waste treatment and disposal facilities;
  • Helps check additional pollution in the areas already over-stressed with pollution;
  • Ensure that pollution potential of an industry is made compatible with the local conditions of the sites
  • Ensure that an industry, with high pollution potential desiring to be located, in a high risk area, will have to adopt clean technologies for manufacturing process so as to prevent generation of waste / pollution there by making it compatible with the receiving environment.
  • Helps in increasing awareness of the public on type of industries and nature of pollution anticipated in the neighborhood well in advance; and
  • Helps in achieving sustainable development

Zoning Atlas a Tool for Decision-making

The Zoning Atlas for sitting of industries helps in decision-making at various levels including the central & State Government, the industry, the regulatory authorities and the general public. The types of decisions that can be taken at various levels are given below.

The Government

1.Notification of industrial areas
2.Decision on the type of industrial development. If the environmental consideration are out-weighed by the economic consideration for sitting industry, the government will know the environmental costs to be borne, risk involved and the term liabilities
3.Restriction of growth of certain industries in specific areas, and
4.Liberalizing location of certain industries & permitting them anywhere in a region / district.

The Industry

For location of an industry, economic factors, such as availability of raw materials, water supply, electricity, labor etc. and the environmental factors are to be considered. Although industry knows the best suitable location from economic considerations, it may not be aware of its implications from environmental protection angle.

From the zoning atlas, an industry can find out the suitable location in various Districts of a state and then work out feasibility or economic viability of commencing its operations in these locations. Accordingly, a decision can be taken on best suitable location.

The Regulatory authorities

Decision on the suitability of an industry to a particular site without losing much time in conducting of environmental assessment;

Notification of site specific standards;

Provision of common pollution treatment and disposal facilities;

Plan well in advance pollution monitoring and control programs; and.

Plan in advance requirements of manpower, monitoring instruments, laboratory facilities, budget etc. in the regional / zonal offices of the State Pollution Control Boards for environmental regulations.

The Public

The public through the Zoning Atlas will know the locations of industries that are likely to come up and the anticipated pollution in their neighborhood. They can decide on the acceptability of such a development even before an industry actual comes up. This eliminates apprehension against forcing pollution on them.

Methodology for Preparation of Zoning Atlas

The Zoning, for sitting of industry is made using GIS applications through overlaying of thematic maps and by the method of elimination of areas unsuitable for industrial activity due to different environmental conditions of sensitivity. The methodology includes identification of the characteristic of the district, mapping of the sensitive Zones that are unsuitable for sitting of industries owing to legal restrictions, physical constraints, social considerations etc., assessing the pollution receiving potential of the District in terms of Air/water (surface/ground) pollution and identification of possible alternate sites suiting to different types of pollution potential. The suitability is based entirely on environmental factors. The scale used for preparation of various maps is 1 : 2,50,000 (1cm = 2.5 km).The procedure for preparing Zoning Atlas for a district is broadly categorized in to six steps, as below :
1. Preparation of the base map of the district;
2. Preparation of the themes, which show the physical features of the district (land use & drainage map, physiography, land capabilities, etc.)
3. Identification of areas showing "Sensitive Zones" which are unsuitable for industrial sitting from environmental considerations / guidelines, legal restrictions, social constrains and physical constrains;
4. Preparation of theme maps pertaining to Air pollution sensitivity and ground water pollution sensitivity.
5.Preparation of 'pollution sensitivity' maps based on overlay of theme maps and identification of
* Possible alternative sites for location of industries based on the sensitivity of the sites to air and water pollution and the risk associated with industrial sitting; and
** Possible solid waste disposal sites based on the sensitivity to ground water pollution.
6.Listing of the categories of industry suitable to various sites identified and recommending guidelines for sitting of industries and the site clearance procedures.