PREDICTION OF IMPACTS
An interdisciplinary approach helps in evaluating the impacts of an activity on the potential consequences that may be:
- Long-term or short-term
- Direct and indirect
- Secondary, individual and cumulative
- Beneficial and adverse
Environmental issues are interdisciplinary, interactive, biological and probablilistic. Indirect or secondary effects can be ignored as they are distant with regard to time from the actual proposed project. Impact prediction and assessment is a major step in environmental assessment process. It involves projection of environmental setting in the future without the proposed action and predicting the impact and assessing the consequences.
The possible changes in the various components of the environment are predicted below:
- Air - degradation due to emissions released and their effect on human beings and the surroundings. Effects of excessive noise due to the project
- Water - degradation of the quality of water and its effect on aquaculture potential and aesthetics of the ecosystem, depletion of groundwater, pollution of nearby water-body by hazardous and toxic substances, effect of temperature and siltation capacity.
- Solid waste - Excess generation of solid wastes cause stress on existing environment
- Vegetation - Destruction of forest cover, depletion of cultivable land, changes in biological productivity, changes in species diversity and rapid disappearance of important species.
- Energy & natural resources - Impact on energy sources in the area due to thermal power generation, natural gas consumption and their effect on local natural resources.
- The action of natural disasters like floods, Earthquake, depositions, stability and air movements.
- Effects on soil and local geology in the form of changes in their physico-chemical characteristics along with an effect on the stability of soil.
- Adverse effects due to man-made facilities and activities like built structures, utility networks, transportation and waste disposal
- Disruption in food chain and spread of diseases due to vectors.
Human aspects affected due to project activities are listed below:
- Economical and occupational aspects involve displacement of population, reaction of population to employment opportunities, services and distribution patterns and change in property values
- Social pattern is affected due to resettlement, rural migration, population density, food, housing, material goods. Another factor to be considered in social pattern is type of living which can be nomadic or settled, pastoral clubs, recreation, rural or urban lifestyle.
- Social amenities and relationships that are affected by project activities include: family life style, schools, transport, community feelings, disruptions, language spoken, hospitals, clubs and neighbours
- Psychological features include involvement, expectations, stress, work satisfaction, challenges, national or community pride, freedom of chores, company or solution, mobility
- Physical amenities include national parks, wildlife, art galleries, museums, beauty, landscape, wilderness, quiet, clean air and water
- Health includes established medical standards and availability of medical services
- Personal security refers to freedom from molestation and natural disasters
- Regional and traditional belief refers to symbols, values and taboos
- Technology refers to security hazards, safety measures and decomissioning of wastes, congestion and density
- Cultural aspects refer to leisure, fashion and new values
- Political aspects refer to authority, decision making and resource allocation
- Legal aspects are restructuring administrative management, changes in taxes and public policy
- Aesthetic aspects could be visual physical changes, moral conduct and sentimental values
- Statutory laws refer to air and water quality standards, nation building acts and noise abatement bye-laws.