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Walking down in a developing country street you can see different buildings erected together not just residential buildings but industrial ones.
I remember a petrol filling station that was situated in our community. A filling station in a residential area is not a good idea, at least if not for anything but for fire outbreak. You see much poultry situated in residential areas you now wonder how the people in the area survive. Is it the noise pollution or the air pollution from the poultry farm we going to say or what. Most buildings are erected without assessing their environmental impact.
Normally environmental impact assessment studies should be carried out before embarking on any developmental project.
It is like starting a business without it comprehensive business plan.
What is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
Like I often say, scientific words are not magic, their meaning can be deduced from the words.
Environmental impact assessment is simply predicting the environmental effects of a proposed project. Now let us simplify it.
According to Merriam Webster, environment is the circumstances, objects or conditions by which one is surrounded. It comprises of everything that brings meaning to humanity which can be plant, animal, human life, buildings, machineries, liquid, gas, solid etc.
Impact is effect or influence which something has on another. Joining this two together, it is safe to say that the Environmental impact assessment examines the effect a project will have on its surroundings. It is looking into the future. However, this doesn’t mean going spiritually it involves answering some questions, taking certain steps to accomplish that.
The main question on your lips now is Why should I go for Environmental impact assessment when I can just start my project. In my definition of Environment, you can see that we need the environment to survive. Imagine you are in a place with no air, plants, water, animals. How long do you think you can survive?
Since the environment provides us with natural resources, foods, economic growth, nutrient cycling, energy flow, we need to be careful how we exploit it.
Well, Environmental impact assessment has a purpose, goals and roles. The main purpose of Environmental impact assessment is to make sure that the decision-makers take the environmental impacts of any new development projects into consideration before giving a go-ahead for such projects.
Aside predicting the environmental impacts of new developmental projects, environmental impact assessment aims to achieve other things.
Once a project is predicted to have an effect on the environment, an alternative way is sought for or a solution to reduce the adverse effect is proffered.
In a case of projects that do not initially suit the environment, it can be modified to fit in the local environment. This might include adding some features to make it fit in.
This is why there is the need for Environmental impact assessment. Environmental impact assessment is here to bring a balance between human need to utilize the environment for his/her own needs and the need to protect the environment.
In the Environmental impact assessment purpose section, I mentioned the decision-makers. The decision-makers are usually a designated agency that deals with environmental issues. Such agencies examples include EPA of the USA, FEPA of Nigeria.
Normally the Environmental impact assessment document should contain the following information and should be sent to the decision maker’s body for evaluation.
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