CONTENT AND FORMAT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) Introduction EIA is an important tool for incorporating environmental concerns at the project level. EIA should be carried out as early as the project planning stage as part of feasibility thus it can assure that the project will be environmentally feasible. The general objectives of the EIA study are to provide; (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) baseline information about the environmental, social, and economic conditions in the project area; information on potential impacts of the project and the characteristic of the impacts, magnitude, distribution, who will be the affected group, and their duration; information on potential mitigation measures to minimize the impact including mitigation costs; to assess the best alternative project at most benefits and least costs in terms of financial, social, and environment. In addition to alternative location of the project, project design or project management may also be considered; and basic information for formulating environmental management plan.
EIA requires an in-depth analysis because of the potential significance of environmental impacts from the project. EIAs demand: (i) comprehensive analysis of the potential impacts; (ii) works to be carried out to formulate practical mitigation measures; (iii) in-depth economic valuation of impact to screen and evaluate the best alternative; and (vi) in-depth analysis to prepare an adequate environmental management plan. The Process in Preparing EIA Scoping should be conducted to develop the terms of reference (TOR) for an EIA. The scoping procedure should at least produce the following outputs: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) identify the likely environmental impacts or other environmental concerns and consideration that need to be further investigated in EIA study, identify environmental components that need detailed further study, determine the general approach and methodology required to carry out the EIA study, identify in general all affected interest to be consulted in carrying out EIA study, and identify the need to fit the outputs of EIA into the project context especially on environmental management plan.
The next step is undertaking EIA study, and the following are key important activities: 1. Describing Environmental Condition of the Project Area
Collection of baseline information on biophysical, social and economic aspects of the project area is the most important reference for conducting EIA study. The description of environmental settings includes the characteristic of area in which the activity of proposed project would occur and it should cover area affected by all impacts including potential
compensation area, and potential area affected by its alternatives. Normally, information is obtained from secondary sources when there is a facility of maintaining database, or other existing documentation, and through field sampling. Collection of baseline data should be designed to satisfy information requirements and should focused on relevant aspects that are likely to be affected by the proposed project. Therefore, the level of detail in this description of study area should be sufficient to convey to readers the general nature of environmental and social resources condition of the affected areas. 2. Assessing Potential Impacts
The "technical heart" of the EIA process involves the prediction of changes over time in various environmental aspects as a result of a proposed project. The prediction of the nature, extent, and magnitude of environmental changes likely to result from a proposed project is aided by various tools and techniques, the choice of which depends upon the impacts of concern, data availability or lack thereof, and the appropriate specificity of quantitative models. However, the choice of the appropriate method for conducting an EIA can only be guided by certain criteria, but no single method will meet all the necessary criteria. In addition, the...
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