Apart from technical measures, there are certain general measures as under: (i) Environmental education (ii) Environmental legislation (iii) Monitoring and mapping (iv) Use of remote sensing (v) Environment impact assessment (vi) Environmental management plan
1. Environmental Education:
One of the most important aspects of environmental management is environmental education. This mainly concerns itself with the various aspects of environment and ecology. Its primary objective is to teach the components of environment, ecology and ecosystems, man-environment relations, degradation of environment including various forms of pollution and their impact, environment vs. development, population, urbanisation and environment, environmental management and contemporary issues related to environment.
Although some aspects of environment were also a part of the several physical and social sciences, they do not provide an overall picture of this diversified subject. Therefore, during last 50 years, it has been realised that environmental education should be given not only to the students but to the general masses also, so that they can play a positive role in environmental protection.
Environmental education is necessary because:
(i) It provides a complete knowledge of the components of environment;
(ii) The knowledge of ecosystems and interaction can be given;
(iii) It gives complete knowledge of various types of pollution, their causes, effects and measures of control;
(iv) It explains the role of man in degradation and maintenance of environment;
(v) It provides knowledge of the latest research in the field of environment;
(vi) It helps in environmental awareness;
(vii) It pursues the people’s participation in environmental issues; and
(viii) It prepares research workers and social workers to work for the conservation of the environment.
In brief, environmental education is the need of the hour and priority should be given to it so that in phases the entire society will become aware of environmental issues. This will be the real success of environmental management programmed. In 1981, the Indian Environmental Institute suggested an outline for environmental education.
The main points were:
(i) The pattern of environmental education should be such that it could help in formulation of environmental policies and reflect the relationship between man and environment.
(ii) Environmental education should be included in secondary and university level syllabus, so that awareness among students can be raised.
(iii) It should also include various principles and concepts of environment.
(iv) At university level, knowledge of regional environment should be given and a report be prepared on any aspect of environment of that region by a group of students.
(v) Training to the students should be imparted so that they can educate the general public about environment.
(vi) An integrated rural development concept of environment should be applied.
(vii) Orientation and reorientation programmers should be organised not only for teachers but for doctors, engineers, planners, social workers and politicians also, to give them complete and up-to-date knowledge of environment.
Throughout the world environmental education has become very popular. There is several research institutions engaged in the field of research in environment. Similarly, several world organisations, national organisations and non-governmental bodies are engaged in environmental education. But still there is a long way to go in countries like India, where 72.2 per cent of the population is living in rural areas and their literacy level is very low. The media can also help in environmental education for the masses.
2. Environmental Legislation:
The conservation and protection of environment in general and its specific variables like air, water, forests, sea, wildlife, etc., in particular is controlled through several international and national, laws. Thus, to implement these laws and develop public awareness about them is an important aspect of management.
The laws to protect environment are essential, because with the growth of commercialization and also due to man’s greed, overexploitation of environment has become a common feature.
This can be checked only through legislation.
Initially, the subject of protection of the environment was dealt with in a fragmentary manner under international law through various international conventions and treaties. In 1963, the Nuclear Weapons Tests Ban Treaty and in 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons were signed.
Treaties on Outer Space (1971), Oil Pollution in Seas (1969), etc., have also been made.
A few important international conventions/laws are:
1. International Plant Protection Convention, 1951
2. The International Convention for the Prevention of the Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954
3. The African Convention on the Conservation of Natural Resources, 1968
4. The Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, 1971
5. The Convention of the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972
The year 1972 was a landmark in the field of environment, when United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held at Stockholm (Sweden) from 5 to 16 June, in which Declaration on the Human Environment was adopted. This may be considered as the beginning of environmental movement in the world. UNO has also adopted a programmers known as UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and also “Earth watch” and “Global Environment Monitoring System” and declared 5th June as “World Environment Day”.
A new international machinery known as “Habitat” was established in Nairobi (Kenya) and m 1982, the tenth anniversary of Stockholm Conference was celebrated in Nairobi, followed by the Nairobi Declaration. In fact, a number of conventions, treaties and instruments have been concluded or adopted dealing with the problem of environmental pollution in one way or other, which shows that all over the world environment and its protection has become an issue of concern and that all the international bodies have shown their concern about it.
Apart from international laws, every country has enacted laws regarding environment protection, pollution control, etc. In India, there are several Acts for environment protection. Even in Indian Constitution, three clauses, viz., 47, 48A and 51A, have been introduced for the protection of the environment.
The four notable Acts of great importance are:
1. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980
2. The Prevention of Air and Water Pollution Act, 1974/1981
3. The Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1981
4. The Environmental Protection Act, 1986
It is the duty of the management personnel to have complete knowledge of various laws about environmental protection and help develop awareness among the people about their provisions.
3. Monitoring and Mapping:
Monitoring of environmental degradation and pollution and its associated aspects is essential for environmental management. Monitoring simply means checking of the environment, pollution etc. In other words, quality of environment or quantity of pollutants is to be measured in order to find out the effectiveness of the measures taken for its improvement. Thus, monitoring is a continuous process and requires trained personnel.
The five categories of monitoring are:
1. Instrumental system in which physical characteristics are measured by instruments, such as:
(i) sound level meter,
(ii) Geiger counter,
(iv) Oxygen meter,
(v) Hydrometer, and
2. Chemical analysis through mechanical devices is done by several methods such as:
(i) Atomic absorption spectroscopy,
(ii) infra-red spectra photometry, and
3. Chemical analysis in which volumetric, gravimetric and colorimetric analysis is done.
4. Biological system is done by examining the nature of certain plants and other micro-organisms.
5. Hybrid system is the combination of any two systems mentioned above.
Today, monitoring of environment has become popular even in developing countries because it helps in setting standards and limits of tolerance as well as for examining the effectiveness of the measures taken for improvement.
4. Use of Remote Sensing:
One of the most exciting developments of modern times has been the advent of satellite remote sensing. Remote sensing simply means sensation received from a distance without direct contact.
Technically, the term is used to denote the acquisition and measurement of data/information on some properties of a phenomenon, object, or material by a recording devise not in physical, intimate contact with the features under surveillance. Thus, the information’s, photos and imageries received through satellite remote sensing are very useful in environmental planning and management.
The practical use of remote sensing is mainly to oversee conditions or solve problems dealing with earth’s environment and man-made infrastructures. The emphasis has therefore been on the status of land and water surfaces, and also on the overlying atmosphere, insofar as these affect human activities.
The payoff from this monitoring is a better understanding of and interaction with (usually changing events which influence our life, such as food production deforestation, urban expansion, mineral extraction, movement and severity of major storms, flooding, ocean nutrient detection, and industrial site selection, occurring at both regional and local scales.
Imageries received from satellite are very useful in disaster management as well as in management of land, forest, etc. Remote sensing, when combined with GIS (Geographical Information System), becomes a very useful system not only in studying the environmental problems but for their planning and management also.
5. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA):
EIA is an important input of environmental management. It is a prior assessment of the future impact of the consequences of any decision on the quality of the total human environment on which man largely depends for his well-being.
It is a systematic evaluation of all significant environmental consequences, and includes:
(i) Prediction of the anticipated changes in the environment; and
(ii) Determination of the magnitude or scale of the particular change, and application of an important significant factor for the change.
EIA is thus a systematic approach to environmental planning and management.
6. Environmental Management Plan (EMP):
In the process of planning, it is essential for every project to formulate an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to ensure that resources are used with maximum efficiency, and that each of the adverse impacts identified and evaluated as ‘significant’ be prevented, attenuated, or, when required, compensated.
Possible mitigation measures include:
1. Changing project sites, routes, production technology, raw materials, disposal methods, engineering designs and safety requirements;
2. Introducing pollution controls, recycling and conservation of resources, waste treatment, monitoring, phased implementation, landscaping, inclusion of a plan for developing a green belt in an industrial plant site, personnel training, special social services or community awareness and education; and
3. Devising compensatory measures for restoration of damaged resources, monetary compensation for affected persons, offsite programmes to enhance some other aspects of the environment or quality of life for the community.
The identification, prediction and assessments are essential aspects of EMP. Identification of mitigation as well as enhancement measures based on speculation of the issues emerging out of the implementation of the project.
EMP can thus include several technological and managerial interventions such as:
1. Recycling and conservation of resources;
2. Pollution control measures;
3. phased implementation;
5. personnel training;
6. landscaping (e.g., inclusion of a plan for developing a green belt around industry);
7. devising compensatory measures for restoration of damaged resources;
8. monetary compensations for affected persons; and
9. Off-site programmes to enhance some other aspects of the environment of quality of life for the community.
EMP for an industrial project should be based on identification of environmentally significant issues and recommendations of measures for each issue.
It should be identified at the following stages:
1. Project sighting;
2. Site preparation and construction of the facility;
3. Operation of the plant; and
4. Project closure.
During project sighting, it should be ensured that alternative sites be selected being located in any of the following areas:
1. Ecologically sensitive habitats such as mangrove, estuaries, wetlands, coral reefs, etc;
2. Watercourses, causing their eventual degradation;
3. Areas where meteorological and topographic conditions are conducive to temperature inversions and air pollution episodes;
4. Areas with significant environmental problems (air, water, and noise pollution); and
5. Areas with proximity to human settlements, resulting in impacts on human health.
Sitting should ideally be done in an area with proximity to raw materials, local workforce and transportation facilities. Sites selected should fulfill the following conditions:
1. plot size should be sufficient for landfill of disposal on-site, or should be close to suitable disposal site(s); it should be convenient for public/private contractors of collect solid wastes for disposal;
2. plot should be situated on a watercourse having maximum water dilution and absorbing capacity;
3. it should be situated in an area where waste water can be reused, with minimal treatment, for agricultural or industrial purposes; and
4. It should be situated within an area that is able to accept plant wastes in their sewage treatment system.
If possible, the project should be located in industrial zones where there is provision of adequate water supply, sewerage and waste water treatment facilities. Industries with gaseous emissions should be located at high elevations in an area not subject to temperature inversions, and where the prevailing winds are towards relatively unpopulated areas.
Transport sector studies should be conducted and safe transport routes selected to reduce likely impacts from spillage. Contingency measures for spillages should also be drafted.
In preparation of EMP due consideration should be given to socio-economic issues. The EMP, if properly prepared and its suggestions implemented, will lead to the long-term planning for sustainable development.