In this essay various aspects of and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be introduced and discussed. 5 Scenarios of environmental impacts will be introduced, explained and its impacts will be assessed.
EIA’s is of high importance as it ensures that the environment is not destroyed so that live on earth will not cease to exist. It is needed that actions are taken towards the entities that harms or destroys the environment.
Our environment is constantly changing at a linear trend. Natural resources such as natural gas and oil will be in short supply in approximately 50 years. Global warming is affecting various forms of live on earth. Climates are changing as it is getting warmer and the sea levels are rising. We are becoming more aware of the environment and the need to take care of Mother Earth. Our actions today determine the future of tomorrow’s generation.
Meaning of the Environment
For the purposes of an EIA the environment may perhaps be described as the biosphere, hemisphere and atmosphere. This includes all of the living and non-living things that exists on earth or part thereof. This is all the components that can be affected by pollution, which includes human beings, florae, faunae, air, soil and geology, water resources and bodies, landscapes and ecosystems. Cultural heritage can also be included as part of the environment.
Environment can denote different things Generic environments types can be described as wetlands or floodplains (Glasson, J, 2005). Specific environmental location can be described as a national park or trail. The environmental habitat types can be described as rare and endangered species. The effect types of the environment are the climate change, biodiversity and environmental injustice. The extraterritorial environments are a location such as Antarctica. The effects on the environment are for example transboundary air pollution. When the site for a project is allotted the site encloses an environment.
Definition of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
An EIA describes a procedure by which information is obtained regarding the effects project, policies, legislative proposals and operational procedures have on the environment (Glasson, J, et al, 2005). The activities are assessed and if their impact is too severe they may be brought to a halt or their severity may be mitigated. The information is obtained and interpreted by the developer, environmental assessment practitioner and other sources and presented in the form of a report. The outcomes of the authorities’ judgment will determine if the project may continue. The outcomes of the authorities decision needs to be interpreted and communicated to the relevant parties.
Four main activities that occurs during an EIA
There are four main activities that occur during an EIA. These activities include:
Determining of alternative sites and or procedures to complete the project.
Writing of the report.
Definition of screening
Screening is done before an EIA is conducted. It determines whether it is needed to conduct a full scale EIA, a basic EIA or none. Not all projects require an EIA because their impact may be small or insignificant. When the impacts of a project are known to be significant or there is an uncertainty about the projects impacts an EIA must be done. These decisions are made during screening.
Procedures during screening
It is needed to take a brief evaluation of the impacts of the project to determine whether an EIA is required or not. It is not an in depth study only an evaluation. The legislation lists the requirements that need to be fulfilled when an EIA must be conducted.
In Most parts of the world a screening report is required before an EIA is undertaken. In South Africa two documents should be completed instead of a screening report.
The first document is a Notice of intent to submit an application. This document notifies the relevant authorities about the intended submission and provides relevant information about the development (Aucamp, PJ, 2009).
The second document required for screening is, An application for authorization. In this document there is certain information that is needed. The site must be identified and all relevant background about the site must be included. The location of the site must be stated and any alternative sites that may be used. All the method on how the EIA will be conducted must be included. In must be stated if a full or basic EIA will be conducted. An affidavit should be included which is signed by both the client and the environmental assessment practitioner (EAP) (Aucamp, PJ, 2009).