We have all been neglected and disrespecting our environment for long. As a result, our environment has been greatly damaged and steps are now being taken to avoid any further damage to it. Any economic development has some or the other impact on the environment and for the benefit of this planet, it is important that both should go hand in hand.
The local officials and planners are now waking up to the ill effects of the development, albeit a bit late. Over the years, development has led to the depletion of agricultural land, endangerment of flora and fauna, in addition to increased levels of pollution. Development leads to lot changes in the quality of land, air, water and other biological resources.
Environment Impact Assessment:
Environment Impact Assessment or keskkonnamõju hindamine, is an important step in the safe keeping of our environment. It helps to identify and evaluate the impact on natural as well as human resources due to every developmental project. The assessment does not necessarily mean that every resource, whether good or bad needs to be preserved. Instead, it makes the citizens, local officials and the community leaders aware of the impact, so that well-informed and knowledgeable decisions can be taken related to the development.
Key Benefits of Environmental Impact Assessment:
Some of the key benefits are:
It helps to identify the valuable environmental resources of the community and the surrounding areas that might be affected due to the proposed developmental plan.
It evaluates the capacity of the community for additional developmental plans based on the environmental impact.
It helps to identify the possible trade-offs or deficiencies that would happen in the environment due to the different proposed development plans and thus finalise the best alternative.
It also helps to identify the group or community that will be most affected by the plan.
Who All Should Be Part of the Assessment:
Any change in the environment effects many different sets of individuals and therefore proper representation for each set is important while identifying the impact of a project. Besides the developers, local officials and planners, members of different communities, who have knowledge and expertise in this field, should also be included.
Civil servants and professionals, who have experience in environment science as well as engineers, can give insightful inputs in this study. Officials from the conservation organisations and state agencies are also included. As the assessment requires technical knowledge, a consultant is usually hired for the process.
Getting the right set of individuals involved will ensure that no point is missed out while assessing. They will ensure that impact of the development on different sets of individuals is taken into consideration. Although it will be time consuming and costly to involve so many people, but it will help avoid making costly mistakes in the final report.
Although most developmental projects are driven by economic impacts, the impact on environment should never be underestimated. A proper environment impact assessment will not only give the feasibility of every project from the environmental standpoint, but will also give possible alternatives to the plan.