You are on page 1of 6

EIA Case Studies

Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 1



Unit-8 EIA Case Studies
8.1 EIA for Dam Constructions:
The construction of large dams completely change the relationship of water and land, destroying the
existing ecosystem balance which, in many cases, has taken thousands of years to create. Currently
there are around 40,000 large dams which obstruct the world's rivers, completing changing their
circulation systems: this is not going to occur without dire environmental impacts.

Throughout the past few years, the negative impacts of dams have become so well known that most
countries have stopped building them altogether and are now forced to invest their money into fixing the
problems created by existing dams.
Dams have been constructed in order to prevent floods, to supply drinking and domestic water, to
generate energy and for irrigation purposes since the old-times. Dams have a great deal of positive and
negative effects on the environment be- sides their benefits like controlling stream regimes, consequently
preventing floods, obtaining domestic and irrigation water from the stored water and generating energy.
Dams hold possibilities of considerable harm for living beings in addition to their advantages such as
meeting basic requirements of the society and increasing living standards
THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF DAMS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
While preparing the water resources projects, it is important to make clear what the environmental
impacts of the project may be when it is executed. The environmental impacts of the dams have been
written down below in numerical order. These are;
1. As a result of dam construction and holding of sediments in reservoirs, sediment feeding of
downstream channel or shore beaches is prevented. Corrosions may occur. As the transfer of sediments
is avoided by this way, the egg lying zone of the fishes living in the stream ecosystem is restricted, too.
2. Archaeological and historical places in company with geological and topographical places that are rare
with their exceptional beauties disappear after lying under the reservoir.
3. Reproduction of migrating fishes is hindered by the floods that harm the egg beds. Or the egg gravel
beds can be destructed while the excavation and coating works in the stream beds.
4. Temperature of water, salt and oxygen distribution may change vertically as a consequence of
reservoir formation. This may cause the generation of new living species. (International River Network,
2001; Canadian Dam Association, 2001).
5. Normal passing ways of territorial animals are hindered since the dam works as a barrier. Meantime
the upstream fish movement aiming ovulation and feeding is prevented and thus fish population
decreases significantly (Stott and Smith, 2001).
6. The fishes can be damaged while passing through the flood gates, turbines and pumps of the high
bodied dams. Drainage of marshes and other water accumulations and the excavation works causing
changes in the stream bed structures affect the creatures living here negatively; even result in their death.
7. There will be serious changes in the water quality as a result of drainage water returning from irrigation
that was done based on the irrigation projects. In other words, over transfer of food and the increase in
salt density can raise water lichens and may change water living species.
8. The species may change parallel to the erosion caused by the human activities or the permanent
increase in the water turbidity as an outcome of the dam construction.
EIA Case Studies
Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 2
9. Discharge of toxic matters (pesticides, toxic metals etc.) and their condensation in food chain may
affect sensitive animals immediately; all living organisms may expire when the stream becomes unable to
recover itself.
10. The water regime may change as a result of destruction of nature, unexpected floods may occur and
consequently vegetation and natural structures in the riverbanks can be damaged.
11. Some increase in earthquakes may occur because of filling of big dam reservoirs.
12. Rise in evaporation loses may be expected as a result of the increase in the water surface area.
13. Microclimatic and even some regional climate changes may be observed related to the changes in air
moisture percentage, air temperature, air movements in big scale and the changes in the region
topography caused by the stagnant, big scaled mass of water.
14. Water-soil-nutrient relations, who come into existence downstream related to the floods occurring
from time to time in a long period of time, change. Depending on this fact, compulsory changes come
into existence in the agricultural habits of the people living in this region and also in the flora and fauna.
15. Dams may cause increases in water sourced illnesses like typhus, typhoid fever, malaria and
cholera.
16. Dams affect the social, cultural and economical structure of the region considerably. Especially
forcing people, whose settlement areas and lands re- main under water to migrate, affect their psychology
negatively.
Numerous other effects can be added to this list. The most important point that must be considered here
is to distinguish the temporary harms from the long term and irreversible harms clearly. It is compulsory
that the groups consisting of biology, engineers, hydrologists, social scientists and other profession
groups attend the environmental impact assessment studies and that the alternatives do their duty in the
estimation of environmental effects.
PRINCIPAL BASIC BENEFITS THAT WILL COME INTO EXISTANCE AFTER THE DEVELOPMENT
OF WATER SOURCES
1. Flood control benefits; it decreases and remove the flood effects.
2. Land improvement benefits; are the extra benefits that will occur after an increase in the soil
productivity because of drainage and land improvement precautions.
3. Electricity energy benefits; are the energy benefit value of the more economical project out of two
alternative projects.
4. Transportation benefits are the benefits that will happen in case of there is waterway transportation in
the project.
5. Providing drinking water and domestic water benefits are different from each other and should be
investigated one by one.
6. Irrigation benefits defines the distinction benefits between dry and irrigated positions.
Soil Erosion
One of the first problems with dams is the erosion of land. Dams hold back the sediment load normally
found in a river flow, depriving the downstream of this. In order to make up for the sediments, the
downstream water erodes its channels and banks. This lowering of the riverbed threatens vegetation and
river wildlife. One of the reasons dams are built is to prevent flooding. However, most ecosystems which
experience flooding are adapted to this and many animal species depend on the floods for various
EIA Case Studies
Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 3
lifecycle stages, such as reproduction and hatching. Annual floods also deposit nutrients and replenish
wetlands.

Species Extinction
As fisheries become an increasingly important source of food supply, more attention is being paid to the
harmful effects of dams on many fish and marine mammal populations. The vast majority of large dams
do not include proper bypass systems for these animals, interfering with their lifecycles and sometimes
even forcing species to extinction.
Spread of Disease
Dam reservoirs in tropical areas, due to their slow-movement, are literally breeding grounds for
mosquitoes, snails, and flies, the vectors that carry malaria, schistosomiasis, and river blindness.

Changes to Earth's Rotation
NASA geophysicist Dr. Benjamin Fong Chao found evidence that large dams cause changes to the
earth's rotation, because of the shift of water weight from oceans to reservoirs. Because of the number of
dams which have been built, the Earth's daily rotation has apparently sped up by eight-millionths of a
second since the 1950s. Chao said it is the first time human activity has been shown to have a
measurable effect on the Earth's motion.
8.2 EIA for Road Constructions:
The environmental impact of roads (both positive and negative) include the local effects of highways
(public roads) such as on noise, water pollution, habitat destruction/disturbance and local air quality; and
the wider effects which may include climate change from vehicle emissions. The design, construction and
management of roads, parking and other related facilities as well as the design and regulation of vehicles
can change the impacts to varying degrees.
Air quality
Roads can have both negative and positive effects on air quality.
Negative impacts
Air pollution from Motor vehicle emissions can occur wherever vehicles are used and are of particular
concern in congested city street conditions and other low speed circumstances. Emissions include
particulate emissions from diesel engines, NO
x
, volatile organic compounds, Carbon monoxide

and
various other hazardous air pollutants including benzene. Concentrations of air pollutants and adverse
respiratory health effects are greater near the road than at some distance away from the road. Road dust
kicked up by vehicles may trigger allergic reactions. Carbon dioxide is non-toxic to humans but is a major
greenhouse gas and motor vehicle emissions are an important contributor to the growth of CO
2

concentrations in the atmosphere and therefore to global warming.
Positive impacts
The construction of new roads which divert traffic from built-up areas can deliver improved air quality to
the areas relieved of a significant amount of traffic. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
Study carried out for the development of the Tirana Outer Ring Road estimated that it would result in
improved air quality in Tirana city centre.
Noise:Motor vehicle traffic on roads will generate noise.
EIA Case Studies
Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 4
Negative impacts
Road noise can be a nuisance if it impinges on population centers, especially for roads at higher
operating speeds, near intersections and on uphill sections. Noise health effects can be expected in such
locations from road systems used by large numbers of motor vehicles. Noise mitigation strategies exist to
reduce sound levels at nearby sensitive receptors. The idea that road design could be influenced by
acoustical engineering considerations first arose about 1973.
Speed bumps, which are usually deployed in built-up areas, can increase noise pollution. Especially if
large vehicles use the road and particularly at night.
Positive impacts
New roads can divert traffic away from population centres thus relieving the noise pollution. A new road
scheme promises to reduce traffic noise .
Water pollution
Urban runoff from roads and other impervious surfaces is a major source of water pollution. Rainwater
and snowmelt running off of roads tends to pick up gasoline, motor oil, heavy metals, trash and other
pollutants. Road runoff is a major source of nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead and polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are created as combustion byproducts of gasoline and other fossil fuels.
De-icing chemicals and sand can run off into roadsides, contaminate groundwater and pollute surface
waters. Road salts (primarily chlorides of sodium, calcium or magnesium) can be toxic to sensitive plants
and animals. Sand can alter stream bed environments, causing stress for the plants and animals that live
there.
Habitat fragmentation
Roads can act as barriers or filters to animal movement and lead to habitat fragmentation. Many species
will not cross the open space created by a road due to the threat of predation and roads also cause
increased animal mortality from traffic. This barrier effect can prevent species from migrating and
decolonizing areas where the species has gone locally extinct as well as restricting access to seasonally
available or widely scattered resources
Habitat fragmentation may also divide large continuous populations into smaller more isolated
populations. These smaller populations are more vulnerable to genetic drift, inbreeding depression and
an increased risk of population decline and extinction.
8.3 EIA for Construction projects:
The construction process and building use not only consume the most energy of all sectors and create
the most CO2 emissions, they also create the most waste, use most non-energy related resources, and
are responsible for the most pollution.
Climate Change
Building use contributes about 50% of the CO2 emissions and construction contributes about another 7%.
Under estimate the CO2 gains that could be made by building energy efficient buildings. The main base
performance criteria for energy efficient buildings all concern the thermal performance of the building shell
where most of the CO2 gains can be most easily made.
EIA Case Studies
Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 5
The fact is that if we are serious about climate change then we need to stop playing games with
technologies which do not deliver real CO2 savings. The real challenge in this area is the refurbishment
of existing buildings. However it would help for a start, if we also produced really energy efficient new
buildings.
Waste
According to DEFRA the waste going to landfill from the construction industry in 2012 was about 100
million tones. This is more than 3 times the amount of domestic waste collection (28 million tons). It has
gone up from about 70 million tons in 2000. In many situations this is equivalent to one house being
buried in the ground for every 3 built. This is an important consideration when the embodied energy of a
building is being calculated. Usually such calculations do not take into account an extra 25% energy for
waste. This is obviously more serious for higher embodied energy products than low embodied energy
products.
There are increasing regulations about waste disposal from construction and many products, even
common products like gypsum plasterboard and mineral wool insulation are now labeled as hazardous
and require special disposal. In addition there are many projects to find new uses for waste construction
materials (through Government bodies such as WRAP). However here, as with waste disposal, the less
processed a material is, and the less hazardous, the easier re-use, recycling or healthy disposal (for
example through composting) will be.
Resource Use
The construction industry is the major consumer of resources of all industries. It accounts for 90% of all
non-fuel mineral use, and a large proportion of timber use. Many of the materials used now come from
abroad, sometimes from countries where with less environmental control or labor justice.
As Bio Regional and the World Wide Fund for Nature have shown in their One Planet Living material, if
everyone in the world consumed resources at the same rate as we do in the it would take the equivalent
of 3 planets now to sustain this consumption. As a global community we exceeded sustainable levels of
consumption in the mid 1980s, so both from the point of view of human survival and of justice and equity,
it is not feasible or desirable to continue at current levels of consumption. It is not possible for the way of
consumption to be spread throughout the globe, and as a matter of urgency we and other western nations
need to radically reduce our consumption of resources.
A distinction needs to be made between sustainable and non- sustainable resources. Sustainable can be
divided into renewable resources (those which can be renewed particularly those that are grown in
short time cycles such as food and certain kinds of timber) and plentiful resources (such as clay, chalk,
and sand). In addition materials which can be indefinitely re-used (or recycled easily) are to some extent
sustainable. Non-sustainable resources are those of which there a known limited supply is, and which
cannot be replaced or easily reused or recycled with minimal extra energy input. These non-sustainable
resources therefore include many minerals, oil and some timber (which is very slow growing or where the
extraction causes the extinction of the habitat and therefore of the resource) at our current levels and
forms of use. the construction industry is the main consumer of non-renewable resources, as well as a
huge consumer of renewable resources, and this means it must bear greatest responsibility for
addressing this situation, and addressing it quickly.
Habitat Destruction
While the three greatest and most imminent threats to the survival of our civilization are global warming,
peak oil (the growing energy gap between supply and demand) and resource depletion, habitat
destruction can have a more immediate and disastrous effect on certain localized areas and species.
Sometimes these can also have a global impact (for example the impact of the deforestation of the
Amazon rain forests).
EIA Case Studies
Copy Rights Reserved To T.Sandeep Page 6
It is hard to keep track of the number of species made extinct every year, and of the further erosion of
biodiversity and rare habitats. It is equally hard to relate this destruction to construction use in the UK.
However the fact that the construction industry is such a huge consumer of materials, particularly of
imported chemicals, minerals, metals and organic materials such as timber, inevitabl y means it has a
huge impact and obviously has the greatest impact of any sector, on habitat erosion and destruction
globally.
Many essential materials are now in short supply. These include materials such as copper, which is
largely mined where whole mountains have been taken down and landscapes altered in the search for
ever more rare resources. They include materials like Titanium Ore which is used for the production of
Titanium Dioxide, which is one of the main ingredients of paint among other things. This is often mined in
rare habitats such as Madagascar with consequential and inevitable dangers to the ecology .
Of course it is possible to mine and extract materials from habitats without destroying them. However
there will always be consequences to this benign form of extraction in terms of cost, speed and quantity.
It is therefore imperative that we radically reduce our demand on such materials in order to allow this
process to happen benignly. At present the whole world is heading in the opposite direction, and we will
lose huge areas of unique habitat forever in the coming years unless we change the way we consume
such materials. This is particularly as regards how we build. It means using less of these materials by
building more simply, with more local and plentiful (ie sustainable and renewable) materials and with less
waste.
Pollution
Finally the environmental impact of construction is also felt in terms of pollution. This is not in the
extraction but in the processing of materials for construction. And again, not surprisingly, the construction
industry has the biggest effect of all sector because of the quantity of materials used in construction
In the past there was a simple general equation between the amount of pollution and the amount of
energy in a process. On the whole the more energy required, and the more processes, the more waste
and the more pollution was generated. Processes such as the processing of plastics for PVC, PU and PI,
the manufacture of Titanium Dioxide, the galvanizing of metals were all very polluting. Much of this is now
controlled by legislation and pollution of air, land and sea within the European Union and many Western
Nations is now reducing. However we have also exported a lot of our pollution in the outsourcing of our
manufacturing to non- western nations such as China, India, and areas of South East Asia and South
America. Products may be assembled in the West, but most of the basic materials and components are
often processed elsewhere. The loss of control of manufacturing processes therefore has a considerable
environmental impact.
As with habitat destruction, it is difficult to track this or control it. Assessments like BREEAM attempt to
assess this effect but there is a huge lack of data and resource for doing it across all product lines. What
we can do is reduce high energy material use, and use local and low energy materials as much as
possible. Until there is proper global control of polluting processes or a clear legislation/ incentives along
with proper assessment lifecycle assessment of all materials and manufacturers, we will have to stick to
what we are sure of, and also what is inherently non-polluting.

Note:
In Exam point of view sometimes EIA for various industries for such as drug industry, cement
manufacturing industry are given based on EIA AUDIT
Always land clearance projects referred to Road projects, water resources projects & Building
construction