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Importance Of Environmental Impact Assessments

The environment that people reside in is the foundation on which all life is based on. We need to maintain and protect the environment and by putting into action environmental impact assessments we can support the environment for future development and not destroy it.

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) have become increasingly important all over the world, and the need to perform environmental impact assessments have been made compulsory in a great deal of countries. In South Africa the environmental laws are incredibly strict to safeguard the environment of the united states that we reside in.

EIAs are performed on the sites where new advancements are slated to be performed or where there's a planned expansion of previously developed assignments, to evaluate the impact that the developments will have on the surroundings. One individual cannot perform an environmental impact assessment alone, but rather a team of environmental analysis professionals (EAPs).

The environment

The expression "environment" has an extremely broad spectrum of areas that it might contain, but it is most commonly used to spell it out the naturally taking place environment. "It is the world we live in, work in, play in, and includes all living (and non-living) things that we encounter on earth. " (Aucamp, 2009, p. 1).

The environment has the ability to vary as time goes by. Therefore the species or microorganisms that live in an environment need to be able to adjust to these changes in their living environments to be able to survive. The environment provides resources for different types of jobs. These resources are all part of the environment and end up being a very critical part of your lives.

The environment is the building blocks of future life and needs to be covered and preserved.

Environmental Impact Assessment

An environmental impact evaluation (EIA) is defined by Canter (1999) as the classification and estimation of the influences that a prepared project may potentially have on various workings of the surroundings. These impacts can occur directly, as well as indirectly and include both environmental and sociable implications.

Environmental impact assessment of proposed development should show that a project does not have a major negative effect on the environment. When a project does have a significant impact on the environment, environmentally friendly impact examination should show that these influences can be mitigated to this extent so that it doesn't have a great effect on the environment.

An environmental impact diagnosis is not simply a document, but instead an activity that is adopted. This process can be described as very versatile, since there are various methods and techniques of doing an EIA. EIAs should only be performed once a well suggested project has been designed.

Main activities that happen during an EIA

During an environmental impact evaluation a great deal of important steps need to be followed which is very important that all of the steps are completed completely to ensure that the EIA has been performed effectively.

These are the four main activities in an EIA:

These activities will be explained individually throughout the rest of this survey.


Screening is the procedure that needs to be undertaken to determine if an environmental impact assessment should be done. This process (screening) is performed by compiling all the required given information or, when there is insufficient information, a short evaluation or site visit must be done. The particular level of which an EIA must be performed can also be determined by putting into action screening.

The steps that can be followed

After testing has been completed, decisions how to keep with the development can be produced. The steps that may be followed to perform screening are the following:

Initial meeting with the promoter of the proposed development

The environmental assessment practitioner that has been placed responsible for the specific job needs to meet the one who is promoting the new development or the extension of a vintage development. They have to discuss all the areas of the proposed job. These aspects are things like the reason why of the task, the scale, cost, main stakeholders, opposition and whether some parts of the job are negotiable or not. Environmentally friendly assessment practitioner must know who all people are that are responsible for the different categories of the project to be able to assess exactly what all the effects of the project will be.

Visit the suggested or existing located area of the site

During a stop by at the intended site, a great deal of necessary information can be gathered that is necessary for the testing of the project. The exact co-ordinates of the website can be acquired as well as pictures. This makes the job more realistic to determine and much easier to visualize when you are no more on site. While on site, observation can be made and in situ tests can be conducted. The surrounding areas can also be assessed and then the whole screening process process becomes more powerful, which allows for additional accurate results concerning the level of the environmental impact analysis that possibly should be performed.

A study of all applicable legislation

All the legal requirements that entail an EIA need to be examined. Restrictions and guidelines regarding EIAs according to the National Environmental Management Action (NEMA) need to be adhered to at all times. These regulations could also determine whether a simple or full scale environmental impact analysis is required. Experienced experts should be encouraged when working with all the legal aspects of a project during screening.


After the screening process process has been completed, or even at the same time as the screening process, scoping can start. During scoping the most important issues are taken care of. These are the issues that contain been raised during the verification of the suggested development that has induced the best concerns among environmentally friendly assessment practitioners, the folks in charge of the task and the general public. Therefore this process mainly highlights which influences will have the best effect and a development for the ultimate assessment. Scoping is essential for projects of all sizes.

Scoping should be performed throughout the project. Once the site for the suggested development has been finalised the position of the scoping will change. Then there will be less issues and more attention can be placed on detailed areas of the evaluation.

According to Hamilton (2000) more time is required to assess unknown impacts that the task may have on the surroundings and the cultural community. This is caused by inadequate scoping.


During the scoping process lots of activities take place. These activities include:

  • Identifying the main element stakeholders and bringing out those to the task and the stakeholders' list.
  • Highlighting the most important issues, principles and concerns that require attention during an EIA.
  • Using findings effectively in debating situations as well as in vital decision making, relating alternatives that could be created to a job.
  • The procedure for figuring out all the plans, regulations and detailed aspects of the diagnosis.

These activities should give a comprehensive scope and may point to method of mitigation or alternatives (Aucamp, 1999; Bekker, 2006).

Stakeholder involvement

In order to grasp the stakeholder participation it is first necessary to understand who a stakeholder is. Howlett and Nagu (1997) define stakeholders as "all those people and institutions who have an interest in the successful design, execution and sustainability of the project. This includes those positively and negatively influenced by the job. Stakeholder participation involves processes whereby all those with a stake in the outcome of a task can actively participate in decisions on planning and management. They reveal information and knowledge, and may contribute to the project, so as to improve the success of the job and hence eventually their own interests".

Stakeholder involvement is the process where the affected parties of the proposed development or activity take part in the job and includes the entire selection of communication between your stakeholders and the decision designers of the suggested development. The stakeholders of a project should therefore be part of decisions that are made during a job and they should be briefed regarding the position of the project. Stakeholders must have a right to their opinion and continually be brought under consideration after and during a task has been completed.

Reasons why stakeholder engagement is important according to Hughes (1998)

Stakeholders help identify and treat issues that are relevant during an EIA.

The engagement of stakeholders helps to connect traditional understanding of the surroundings to the task.

During an EIA the stakeholder engagement enhances the communication between the promoters of the development and the stakeholders.

The involvement of most the several stakeholders allows the promoters to recognize each stakeholder's requirements regarding the project.

Stakeholders could identify problems and come up with promising opportunities for the mitigation of problems.

Stakeholders ensure that the EIA is conducted thoroughly and assure that no aspects have been neglected.

When acceptable attention is allocated to stakeholder participation during an EIA, the course prediction of the environmental assessment boosts. Stakeholder involvement allows for more info to be accumulated when an diagnosis is being done. Some local stakeholders have cumulative knowledge about their environments plus more supply to information concerning the area of the development.

Environmental assessments

An environmental analysis (EA) is the procedure of determining the consequences or effects of change (positive or negative) a suggested development or activity may have on the surroundings. The environmental examination therefore studies the effects these changes will have on both the physical as well as the public environment. Some changes won't have any influence on the surroundings. Jain (2004) figured some tasks that go through an environmental diagnosis won't experience any changes brought on by the activities, but the present status of the job might have been unacceptable from the start.

Methods used to perform environmental assessments according to (Aucamp, 2009)

Comparisons with EIA jobs in similar projects


Environmental cost-benefit studies

Expert ideas and systems

Indicators of environmental advertising or resources

Laboratory testing

Landscape evaluation

Interaction matrices

Impact tree networks


These are only a few cases and there are a lot more methods used to execute environmental assessments.

Most important environmental legislation managing the undertaking of EIA in South Africa

In South Africa there are environmental laws that require to be adopted when one designs on undertaking an EIA. This body of guidelines and recommendations forms part of the composition of the South African environmental legislation.

Multinational environmental arrangement (MEA)

This is part of a global legislation and includes the next:

Treaties - Participating in to endangered types.

Protocols - Included in these are the Kyoto standard protocol that manages carbon emissions.

Conventions - This includes famous brands the Montreal convention.

The Constitution

The constitution addresses the privileges of all Southern African citizens. The Southern African Constitution environmental right - section 24 (Republic of South Africa, 1996a) says that:

Everyone has the right -

(a) to a host that's not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and

(b) to have the environment guarded, for the advantage of present and future years, through sensible legislative and other measures that -

(i) prevent air pollution and ecological degradation;

(ii) promote conservation; and

(iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable monetary and sociable development.

Statuary law

Written statuary laws and regulations are authorized by ministers and presidents. Listed below are general statuary laws and regulations:

Environmental Conservation Work (ECA) No. 73, 1989.

National Environmental Management Work (NEMA) NO. 107, 1998 - Section 5 amended 2008.

Specific law

The pursuing are specific laws that are pert of the South African environmental legislation:

Air: VEMA Quality of air Function No. 39, 2004.

Water: National Water Function No. 36, 1998.

Soil: Conservation of agricultural resources Work No. 43, 1983.

Biodiversity: NEMA Protected areas Action 2003

NEMA Environmental Biodiversity Act No. 25. 1999.

Heritage: National Heritage Resources Act No. 25, 1999.

Civil law

The civil legislations is one which is unwritten. It really is predicated on precedent which is between individuals or between individuals and companies or governmental organizations.

All of all these laws form part of the structure of the most crucial environmental legislation managing the undertaking of EIAs in South Africa.

When an environmental impact examination should be undertaken in South Africa

Every country has their own environmental legislations and practices different steps when they plan on undertaking environmental impact assessments. South Africa has one of the best environmental legislations on the globe, which covers every part of the surroundings in order to protect and protect it for sustainable development. South Africa is very productive in terms of natural environment, because the country has a great deal of wildlife and resources.

Knowing when to perform an environmental impact assessment is crucial no short slashes should be studied when deciding this.

Knowing when to execute an EIA

A certain requirements of requirements have to be met in order to ensure whether or not an environmental impact evaluation should be performed or not. In South Arica there are guidelines and regulation controlling this decision. These requirements are covered in the National Environmental Management Action (NEMA), the three listing activities and the EIA rules. New projects that have started after the 2nd of August 2010 need to stick to the new polices. These restrictions are discussed in the next subsection.

New regulations

When deciding whether an EIA should be performed the new restrictions which have been promulgated in June 2006 should be studied into consideration. Following the EIA legislation was created to South Africa it was reviewed in 2006. This review helped bring a number of amendments to the Country wide Environmental Management Act (NEMA) which better certain acts that wasn't up to requirements.

On the next of August 2010 these regulations were changed slightly. The following restrictions have come into impact:

Projects that tell you this transitional period and cross into the new regulations just need to adhere to all the old environmental impact assessment regulations, which were still in place when the task started.

Differences between basic and full scale environmental impact assessments in South Africa

Full scale EIA

Acknowledge receipt

Check application

Submit application



Submit scoping report


Notification of decision



Basic EIA

Submit application

Basic evaluation report

Public participation

Await authorisation

Acknowledge receipt

Check application


Notification of decision

Images of environmental influences in South Africa

Moses Mahbida Stadium in Durban


This photography shows the building of the sports stadium. This huge composition masks 89600 m2 and is also 45 m high. A 350 m long arch that stretches across the stadium's length reaches a level of 100 m.

Type of project

This was a engineering project for the introduction of Durban's Fifa World Cup 2010 venue that replaced the old King's Park Sports Stadium.


This stadium's biggest negative impact was its visual impact on Durban, since it is such a massive framework and it was an update of a preexisting stadium.

Mitigation of impacts

The design of this stadium was done to world class expectations. The stadium was made to be a great engineering success and using this method the big framework no longer possessed a negative effect on the sociable environment. Everyone was getting excited about the completion of the great stadium plus they were proud to add this stadium to the image of Durban.

Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)


This is a photography of the Cape Town International Convention Centre that is mentioned to be the greenest building in South Africa. This job is wanting to set international requirements in sustainable building design and management.

Type of project

A 30000 m2 expansion project of the Cape Town International Seminar Centre was performed to improve the facility.


This building didn't have any significant negative impacts on the environment, but it didn't have any positive effects either.

Mitigation of impacts

The mitigation process for this job was turning a task with no influence on the surroundings into a project with a standard positive effect on the environment. Corresponding to Harcourt (2008) they completed this by building the building to utilize 40 percent less energy per m2, twenty five percent less waste to landfill and 95 percent potable water.

The interface of Ngqura


This is a development of a deep water slot at the Coega River Mouth area. It is situated about 20 kilometres from Dock Elizabeth and will be the deepest box terminal in Africa.

Type of project

This is a whole new project that has been built from damage. It will have a fixed inlayed aircraft pump sand bypass system. It'll include major earthworks as well as road networks.


The natural environment around this area has been significantly changed and damaged. This was a very simple parcel and there have been no endangered kinds. It'll surely also positively impact the economical environment of the recently undeveloped and poor region.

Mitigation of impacts

The areas all around the Interface will be developed once Ngqura is advertised to South Africa's hub port. These damaged areas will be created into an professional area and create thousands of jobs and economically strengthen the region

Gautrain Project


The Gautrain is a Rapid Rail Website link system that can improve travel in the Gauteng area. It is a world course railway system and can produce broadband trains for rapid transportation that stretches from Johannesburg to Pretoria.

Type of project

This will be South Africa's most scientific transportation project to date. This Swift Rail Hyperlink system has been under structure for quite some time and happens to be up and running. This task has a whole lot of potential of extending in the future.


Due to how big is this project there are a lot of impacts. You will find both bio-physical and socio-economical effects. The bio-physical effects are the following:

Fauna and flora along the road of the building.

Ground and wetlands that are demolished.

Soils along the way and the geology of the earth.

Air quality around the construction sites.

The socio-economical impacts are as follows:

Noise and vibration that'll be caused during the construction as soon as the trains are operating every day.

Land use and the house values.




Mitigation of impacts

The creators of the Gautrain project have held several conferences with the general public and their stakeholders to be able to mitigate every one of the problems that contain arisen from this job. All endangered place species have been saved and covered. Wetlands have been rehabilitated to previous conditions as well as harmed earth and soils. The noise levels have been lessened noticeably since the project has been running and there were no major issues. All history sites have been shielded during the building. Overall this project has shown a very large potential for economic growth.


The most significant impacts involved with this project will be the transmitting integration factors, seismic suitability of the sites, effects on dune geomorphology, effects on wetlands, influences on vertebrate fauna, effects on invertebrate fauna and financial impacts.

Mitigation of impacts


This report shows the value of environmental impact assessments. It is unquestionably a fundamental part of the life of your project. Doing an EIA is crucial for an effective project and this jobs are done without doing EIA's are destined for failure and devastation to all the people involved in the project.

The South African law demonstrates to be very up to date when it comes to environmental legislation which is of top notch standards. These laws and regulations protect all environments and help enforce programmers to build based on the regulations.

EIA's very detailed processes and everything coders should gain information as to what the methods are when doing EIA's and when EIA's should be performed to basic or full scales.

EIA's are there to protect the environment and ensure ecological development. They ensure that we leave something behind for future years.

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