Performing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

How to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Introduction.
The manufacture of goods and services to satisfy our desires have led to activities which deplete our global natural resources. These activities intended to increase our economic, social and political well being is the underlying cause of environmental degradation, pollution, loss of species and a threat to our very own existence. In a quest to maintain the earth’s capacity to sustain such rapid growth and the associated environmental issues, the environmental impact assessment Malaysia, in 1987, adopted a legislation and set down goals to access the impact of human activities on the environment. Among the many tools discussed, the environmental impact assessment, is widely used to access and is integrated in many development projects.

What is EIA?
It is the study of the effects of a proposed project or action on the environment. It judges the environmental, cost, and economic impacts of different options for a particular project and suggests the alternative with the least harm to the environment and most affordable financially. EIA is a multidisciplinary tool where decisions are based on predictions and assumptions. A complete environmental assessment is made up of five steps.

Step one.
Write down a brief but comprehensive problem picture of the project, the objectives of the project, the intended benefit and state your reason for conducting EIA

Step two.
List all the alternatives or options to this project to the best of your knowledge including the zero alternative (no action). It is advisable to work in small committee of two or three members to avoid missing out some options.

Step three.
Under each listed alternative, predict, analyse and state the potential effects to man and the environment. It is recommended to do some reading on every option so as to get all the possible environmental effects. Mind you, no environmental effect is small, so do not leave out any tiny bit of information because this counts towards your decision for the suggested option.