It is a study of the probable changes in socio-economic and biophysical characteristics of the environment that may result from a proposed action.
1. EIA represents a means of evaluating and controlling the quality of the human environment.
2. It is an intrinsic link between environment and economic growth. EIA is a valuable decision making tool indicating the:
(a) Alternate routes of development
(b) Alternate project site
(c) Alternate process technologies
(d) Carrying capacity of the specific ecosystem
(e) Quality of the environment before, during and after the proposed development activity.
The purpose of an EIA is to help design projects, which enhance the quality of the environment by examining alternatives.
The goals of environmental impact assessment are:
(1) Resource conservation
(2) Waste minimization
(3) Recovery of by-product
(4) Efficient equipment
(5) Nature balanced the environment by different ways.
Environment governed by following laws:
1. Role of man in nature is to create final order, harmony and balance.
2. Man can engineer nature and modify it to his benefits.
3. Man has moral obligation to protect and preserve the environment.
4. A life support system in its wild state is necessary for the survival of human beings.
5. Environment is beautiful, magnificent, powerful and unpredictable.
The two major issues important for a society are:
1. Control of pollution
2. Proper use of resources.
Environmental impact assessment and planning and conservation of natural resources can govern these issues.
Environment impact can be observed on the following parameters:
1. Impact on soil, water and air quality.
2. Impact on natural resources like agriculture, forests, fisheries, wild life, tourism, natural scenery etc.
3. Socio-economic impact on affected human population.
4. Impact on health.
5. Impact on economy and security.
Environmental Impact Assessment consists of four phases, namely:
1. Organizing the Job
2. Performing the assessment
3. Writing the Environment Impact Statement (EIS)
4. Review of the EIS.
Methodology of Environmental Impact Assessment
Ignoring impact assessment can be dangerous
For Example: A high dam at Aswan and Lake Nasser in Egypt was completed in 1964. There are four major environmental projects changing following drawbacks:
1. High dam lacks sluices to transport sediments through the reservoir.
2. Plankton population reduced which is the basic food for sardines and macker.
3. Snail population increased thereby increasing the disease snail fever.
4. Increased threat of malaria.
Contents of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
1. Description of the proposed action.
2. Estimation of physical, biological and socio-economic factors.
3. Manpower is also considered.
4. Criteria to be used in measuring the significance.
5. Implementation of proposed plan.
6. Recommendations regarding the follow up procedure.
Design of Environmental Assessment Impact (EIA)
1. Project design and construction:
2. Physical requirement, the area, type of project etc. are included.
3. Project Operation:
4. How will we handle the hazardous waste etc?
5. Site characteristics:
6. Whether the site is susceptible to flood, earthquake etc.
7. Possible environmental impacts:
8. What are the possible short-term and long-term environment effects for the type of projects during the construction?
9. Socio-economic factors:
10. Who are the actual gainers and losers of the project?
11. Socio-political factors:
12. What are the relevant political factors that have to be considered?