The Environment Ministry has proposed that at least one tree be planted in every 80 square metres of land to ensure residential and commercial construction sites have at least 10 per cent of their plot area under tree cover. The ministry issued a draft notification on "Building Construction Environment Management Regulations, 2022" on February 28 seeking public suggestions and objections on the proposal within 60 days.
The regulations will be applicable on projects involving construction of new building projects and expansion, renovation or repair of old existing buildings having a built-up area of more than 5,000 square metres. "A minimum of one tree for every 80 sqm. of land should be planted and maintained so as to ensure at least 10 per cent of plot area under tree cover. The existing trees will be counted for this purpose," the draft notification read.
It said the topsoil should be stripped only up to a maximum depth of 20 cm from the areas proposed for buildings, roads, paved areas, and external services. It should be stockpiled appropriately in designated areas and reapplied during plantation of the proposed vegetation on site. The ministry said no construction allowed on wetland and water bodies and groundwater cannot be used during construction phase of the project except with prior approval of the Central Ground Water Authority.
"Rooftop and non-roof rainwater harvesting plan shall be designed and implemented to capture at least 'one day rainfall runoff volume' from roof and non-roof areas in a manner that prevents possible contamination of groundwater," the notification said. Minimum 20 per cent of the open spaces should be pervious. Use of grass pavers, paver blocks with at least 50 per cent opening would also be considered as pervious surface, it said.
"Dual plumbing system shall be implemented - one for supplying fresh water for drinking, cooking and bathing etc. and another for supply of treated water for flushing. Only treated water shall be used for flushing," it said. The ministry had constituted an expert committee on January 29 last year to examine and recommend regulations for building construction and township projects.
The panel considered necessary to put in place standardized, outcome-based and quantifiable environmental regulations so as to bring in transparency in approach and encourage ease of doing business. It also considered necessary to expand the monitoring mechanism through third party audits, encouraging green certifications and leveraging on the presence of regulatory agencies at different levels of governance while retaining the overall superintendence of regulatory framework with the central government.
With PTI Inputs