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Assessment of Environmental Aspects
~Dr Dilip Ganguly

Conducting an Assessment of Environmental Aspects

An organization has to first and foremost, pinpoint its significant environmental aspects. The first step is to identify the environmental aspect, after which follows the process of deciding whether or not it is a significant aspect. Having done this, its possible impacts can be foreseen, and remedial measures can be formulated.

1. The Assessment of Environmental Aspects
The assessment of an environmental aspect is carried out in the following steps:
(a) Select an activity, a product or service. The activity selected, a product or service should be large enough for inference.
(b) In order to have a thorough assessment of environmental aspect, one must first identify environmental aspect of the activity, product or service. Identify has many environmental aspects as possible associated with the selected activity, product or service.
(c) Identify environmental impacts. Identify as many actual and potential, positive or negative environmental impacts as possible associated with each identified aspect.
(d) Evaluate significance of impacts. The significance of each of the identified environmental impacts can be different for each organization. Quantification will help in judgment.
(e) Each environmental activity should be controlled by operational controlled procedures. Additionally significant impacts should be controlled by drawing out objective and targets and environmental management plans.
(f) The selected activity has to be linked with other required regulations.

The assessment of environmental aspects is vital before we try to tackle issues pertaining to the environment

2. Aspects Analysis

3. Examples from the first three steps
Activity: Handling of hazardous materials
Aspect: Potential for accidental spillage
Impact: Contamination of soil or water

Product: Product refinement
Aspect: Reformulation of the product to reduce its volume
Impact: Conservation of natural resources

Service: Vehicle maintenance
Aspect: Exhaust emissions
Impact: Reduction of air emissions

4. An Example to Show the Assessment of Environmental Aspect

As a practical example, waste acid transportation through pipelines is taken as an activity. Other parameters are worked out in reference of this activity which in formatted form is given below:

Activity: Receiving of Waste Acid (WA) from shop to Acid Sec through transfer line to service tank.

Aspect:

  1. Leakage from joints, holes, and cracks of acid lines and tanks
    Evaluation of impact Severity of Impact (Scale: 1-5 Trivial 1, Fatal-5): 3
    Legal & other required regulations: Legal
    Significant & Non Significant (Significant 3 and above): Significant
    Operational Control Procedure (O.C.P.) No.: O.C.P. D/N No.01
  2. Spillage of WA in case of overflow from tanks
    Evaluation of impact Severity of Impact (Scale: 1-5 Trivial 1, Fatal-5): 2
    Legal & other required regulations: Legal
    Significant & Non Significant (Significant 3 and above): Non-Significant
    Operational Control Procedure (O.C.P.) No.: O.C.P. D/N No.01
  3. Emission of fumes
    Evaluation of impact Severity of Impact (Scale: 1-5 Trivial 1, Fatal-5): 2
    Legal & other required regulations: Legal
    Significant & Non Significant (Significant 3 and above): Non-Significant
    Operational Control Procedure (O.C.P.) No.: O.C.P. D/N No.01

    The assessment of environmental aspects is vital before we try to tackle issues pertaining to the environment.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]

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