Environment impact assessment, known as EIA system is the technique which is used in assessment of the impacts of the environment. This can be used to find out the problems or impacts and then identify the different options to reduce the damage (Clavreul and et.al., 2014). Another major objective of EIA is to communicate with the group or organization people who are making the decisions before they made it. The assessment will include all the positive and negative consequences of different plans, policy programs before the decision has been made. EIA is a unique technique, which will not require to depend on the outcome of the environment. Instead they want the organization's decision maker to take all the environment values in account before making the decision (Sharifi and Murayama, 2013).
Environmental impact assessment can be applied to the plan or any project, the company is making, so that they can understand the impacts of the environment on that project.
Screening of EIA system
Screening of the system helps the organization in determining that EIA is required or not. It can be applied to different specific information which are on the site (Pope and et.al, 2013). It is the first decision of EIA system. It can also ensure that the level of any kind of EIA system is related to the issues developed by the proposal of the product. There should be a particular level of information and the location of the project is necessary. The time which will be required on the completion of the screening process is dependent on type of project, the factors of the environment and the understanding of its latent impacts.
The screening process can have any of the outcomes which are listed below
- A full EIA is needed and it should be comprehensive one
- No EIA is required any further
- A limited EIA is required
- More research is needed, so that they can identify the level of EIA, which is required.
There are many EIA systems, which are only having some formal procedures for screening. But in some of the cases, the procedures are very strict (Deng and et.al, 2014). The proponent is generally responsible for the EIA screening process. This should occur as soon as possible regarding the development of the project, because the impact of the environment can cause sudden problems for the project (Fischer and Noble, 2015). There are certain approaches, which can be applied in the screening process
1. Prescriptive approach or standard approach
What is the proposal, the subject and the immune project from EIA are described in this approach. Some rules and regulation which have to be followed are also defined in this.
2. Customized approach
All the proposals are screened on single basis or on individual bases. This can be done with the help of declarative suggestions (Toro and et.al, 2013). There are some methods, on which EIA is dependent, like
- legislation of the proposals which may or may not apply by EIA
- It will include the different list of projects which are required by EIA, some of the project which are not required by EIA, because these are not significant one and are exempted by law.
- Certain fixed criteria for individual and case by case screening, because these are some of the significant environmental impacts.
The criteria of screening will be based on the category of projects, its objectives. The location of the area, the size of the area and the investment of money required for that proposal (Morrison-Saunders and et.al, 2014). The outcome of this process is sometimes a document which is named as Initial Environmental Evaluation.
Assessment of EIA system
The assessment process is having three main factors, which have to be keep in mind. They are
- Prediction of impacts: All the natural and environmental impacts are included in this.
- The improvement of mitigation can also be used, just to decrease, avoid or manage the impacts.
- Assessment of each impact is necessary after the mitigation process is done.
Assessment has to be done on the selected proposals (Zhang, Kørnøv and Christensen, 2013). It has to be identified that what can be the different impacts, the environment can cause on that project. The screening will tell about whether some assessment is needed or not. This can also tell about the uncertainty of the nature of potential impacts (Guerra and et.al, 2015). The assessment sometimes uses very specific and rapid techniques but supply all type of details which can be used in identifying the key impacts, their significance and magnitude. It will tell whether full EIA is needed or not. There are some negative impacts as well and for them mitigation measures have to be taken. All these measures have to be real in terms of technical aspects or economical aspect. The efficiency have to be calculated on each measures whether it is reducing the negative effect or not (Lonsdale and et.al, 2015). At this stage, the estimation of the investment, which is required have to be done, so that it can verify the practicability of the measurement taken for the proposal.
EVALUATION OF EIA SYSTEM
The evaluation of the system is based on the design and practices. This means that the processes, which have been applied by varying the intentions and other aspects (Morero, Rodriguez and Campanella, 2015). The evaluation is typically based on some of the dimensions and they are
- The first concept is based on the difference between the system structure on one side and the implementation structure on the other side. The main approach here is that, the main attempt of the evaluation of EIA is somewhat dependent on the design of the administrative processes (Birkmann and et.al, 2016). The second approach is evaluation of the outcome of the impacts that EIA was having on the performance of the environment.
- The second concept is the evaluation of the documentation of the processes based on the criteria like good documents, good practices etc.
- The final step of EIA evaluation focuses on the functional implementation of EIA. In this step, the evaluation is based on different case studies which are done previously with a considerable focus on the effectiveness.
There is one more step, which will have certain approaches to understand the proper functioning of EIA. This will have all the design and practices of EIA (Bare, 2014).
IMPROVEMENT OF EIA
There are many countries which are following EIA (Wangel and et.al, 2016). So that they can progress towards sustainable development. Some of the weaknesses are related to the quality of assessment, which is very poor. This is because either the commitment of the proponents is low or there are some issues which are related to the nature. In EIA, it will be very difficult to change or modify the existing practices (Glucker and et.al, 2013). There are some potential improvements which can be done to increase the performance. These are;
- EIA should focus on the main and most important issues
- The quality of documents and consistency have been improved.
- The approach should be standard for all the applied conditions.
- The process of monitoring and reporting should be improved and strengthen
- The accountability of the professionals of EIA, should be improved.
All these factors need to be improved, so that the proposals which are selected are the best ones, very cost effective and very efficient (Sánchez and Mitchell, 2017).
From this report, it has been concluded that EIA is an essential technique or tool, which can be used in projects, so that no harmful impact can be caused on the environment. This assignment has explained about the screening and assessment techniques, the evaluation of EIA, and the techniques which can be used to improve the EIA system.
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