E.I.A meaning Environmental Impact Assessment can simply the defined as a process of determine how a proposed development will have direct/indirect impact on the environment (positive and negative).
Sustainable Development can simply be defined as a development that takes into consideration both the needs of the present and the future not placing one above the other.
It is a common feature in Nigeria to see structures springing up in places that shouldn’t be e.g a Petrol Filling Station at the middle of a market, houses constructed along Gaslines, Industrial institutions at the heart of a town surrounded with residential structures amongst others.
Not all development require the need of an E.I.A report but in accordance with the Town Planning Law (Decree 88 of 1992, Section 33) these development require an E.I.A report:
- A residential land in excess of 2 hectares.
- Permission to build a factory or for the construction of an office building in excess of four floors or 5,000 square metres of lettable space.
- Permission for a major recreational development.
Over the years various states have added more developments that requires an E.I.A.
For example in Lagos State, E.I.A will be submitted for:
- Oil and Gas pipeline depots and installations.
- Large scale industrial development.
- Roads, Rail Lines, Seaportvand airport development.
- Large scale educational institution/facility such as for tertiary institutions.
- Development/Production process which may be injurious to the environment.
Due to the corrupt nature of our dealings in Nigeria most of these things are overlooked but when the negative effects occurs we get more affected than those who failed to uphold these regulations.
There is a place for E.I.A in the law but if it has a place in the law why then do we have chaos in our towns and cities would incompactible land uses, with uncomplementary land uses?.
Why Carry out E.I.A?
E.I.A will identify the potential risks of a project (petrol pipeline, dam creation, An hotel, a refinery e.t.c) to the environment and it’s components will help in identifying measures to eliminate, reduced the risk.
The E.I.A is to be submitted before a project is being carried out not during or after, and an Environmental Impact Statement (E.I.S) issued before development begins.
E.I.A is not just Good but it is a necessity like Communication and Transportation as it does the following:
a. It helps identify possibility of environmental hazards.
b. It describes proposed actions as well as alternatives. Alternative plans are advised to be made to suit the immediate environment and man.
c. Effects on Vegetation, wildlife.
d. Economic and Population factors.
e. It helps determine the Nature/magnitude of the likely environmental effects.
f. Risk analysis and disaster management.
After an E.I.A report has been submitted to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, it will be cross-checked to ascertain how true it is and many other bureaucratic procedures follow.
After all checks have been conducted, an E.I.S will be issued which should be open to public scrutiny and review at a public hearing. The statement will either be of:
a. Development is accepted.
b. Proposed Development shall be adjusted.
c. Provide alternative proposal.
d. Proposed Development is rejected.
The goal of planning is Safety, Aestheticness (Beautification), conveniency, economic safety; now if your proposal antagonises any of this without measures to mitigate it, there’s a high chance your proposed development is rejected.
Professionals to consult for an E.I.A report.
The title of a proposed development will determine the professionals involved in the E.I.A report process but generally Town Planners, Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Archaeologist, Hydrologist e.t.c can be consulted.
Without the E.I.A, the goal number “11” of the SDG which is “Sustainable Cities and Communities” is but a mirage.