What is an Environmental Audit?
Environmental Audit (EA) is a compulsory annual systematic documented and objective evaluation of how activities, programmes and processes of a facility, establishment or institutions conform to the approved Environmental Management Plan and sound environmental management practices. A comprehensive EA promotes safe and health and sustainable environment at all stages of operations, as well as decommissioning.
Aim of an Environmental Audit
The Aim of EA is to establish if Owners/proponents/Clients/Operators of projects, programmes, Institutions, establishments are complying with environmental requirements and enforcing legislation as per Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) regulations.
Administrators of Environmental Audit
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is mandated and is the only Authority that oversees administration of Environmental Audits. All Environmental Audits carried out by Environmental Experts are submitted to NEMA for reviewing and advising.
Who Conducts Environmental Audit
An environmental audit shall be carried out ONLY by a qualified and authorized environmentalist who must be an expert or a firm of experts registered by NEMA (National Environment Management Authority) and must possess a Valid NEMA Practicing license.
When an Environmental Audit is carried out
Environmental Audits must be done on a yearly basis and the prepared systematic environmental Audit report submitted to NEMA. They are compulsory failure to which a facility, institution or establishment can be closed down and/or the owners/proponents/Operators jailed or fined heavily or both for failure of Compliance.
Who pays for an Environmental Audit
The project proponent/Owner/Client/Operator/Sponsor/Manager pays for the entire Environmental Auditing (EA) process. The cost of the Environmental Audit process varies depending if it’s an initial Environmental Audit, An Annual Environmental Audit, the level of compliance, The type and nature of activities the establishment being audited engages and the location.
Documents required for environmental auditing process
The documents listed below are important requirements when carrying out an environmental Audit to determine the efficacy of your operations in accordance with Environmental management and Coordination (EMCA) regulations. These documents include;
- Copy of Title Deed/Lease/Conveyance/Allotment Letter (to determine the land or site/premises ownership).
- Copy of Single Business Operating Permit or any relevant compulsory Certification required from your relevant authority before commencing your operations
- Copy of the Company/Institution’s KRA PIN.
- Copy of Current Fire Clearance Certificate. (If available).
- Copy of Latest Electricity Bill.
- Copy of Latest Water Bill (if connected to a public water source).
- Copy of Contract with company hired to collect solid waste.
- Copy of current NEMA license of company hired to collect, transport and dispose solid waste.
- Copy of the contract with the company hired to provide security services (if applicable).
- Copy of NEMA License to own and operate a waste water treatment Plant (if you have a waste water treatment plant).
- Copy of medical examination certificates (where applicable)
- Copy of Certificates showing workers have been trained on health and Safety, Fire Safety and Risk Assessment. (Where DOSHS trainings and Audits are compulsory)
- Other Copies of Certificates or Licenses that must be acquired from any relevant Authority before commencing your operations.
- Water Analysis Report (it’s required regardless of the source of water, be it borehole, Council or rain harvested. Once in a while sample of that water should be taken to a NEMA recognized lab for testing to determine if it’s safe for consumption). If it has never been done kindly organize and have it done.
- Power Consumption Report (the management is advised to monthly monitor and document power use consumption in terms of Kilowatts and costs across the year.) this report will help determine if power use is sustainable or not.
Establishments/Projects that must undergo Environmental Auditing.
Environmental Audit shall be undertaken on the following Establishments, Enterprises, Institutions or activities because of their potential environmental, social and economical impacts to the environment and public in general;
All Existing Establishments commenced and or have been in operation prior to the coming into force of the Environmental (Impact Assessment and Audit) Regulations, 2003.
New projects undertaken after completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment and a licence issued starting immediately after one year of operation.
- General: An activity out of character with its surrounding; any structure of a scale not in keeping with its surrounding; and major changes in land use.
- Urban Developments including: Apartments, Estates of Townhouses, Commercial Developments, Industries, Factories, Schools, Churches, Colleges, Universities, Hospitals, Clinics, Clubs, Hotels. Shopping Centres and Mall Complexes. Also designation of new townships; establishment of industrial estates; establishment or expansion of recreational areas; establishment or expansion of recreational townships in mountain areas, National Parks and Game Reserves;
- Transportation including: all major roads; all roads in scenic, wooded or mountainous areas and wetlands; railway lines; airports and airfields; oil and gas pipelines; and water transport.
- Dams, rivers and water resources including: storage dams, barrages and piers; river diversions and water transfer between catchments; flood control schemes; and drilling for the purpose of utilizing ground water resources including geothermal energy.
- Aerial spraying. All Kinds of aerial spraying projects farms and such like.
- Mining, including quarrying and open-cast extraction of precious metals; gemstones; metalliferous ores; coal; phosphates; limestone and dolomite; stone and slate; aggregates, sand and gravel; clay; exploitation for the production of petroleum in any form; and extracting alluvial gold with use of mercury.
- Forestry related activities including: timber harvesting; clearance of forest area reforestation and afforestation.
- Agriculture including: large-scale agriculture; use of pesticide; introduction of new crops and animals; and use of fertilizers; irrigation.
- Processing and manufacturing industries including: mineral processing, reduction of ores and minerals; smelting and refining of ores and minerals; foundries; brick and earthware manufacture; cement works and lime processing; glass works; fertilizer manufacture or processing; explosive plants; oil refineries and petro-chemical works; tanning and dressing of hides and skins; abattoirs and meat-processing plants; chemical works and process plants; brewing and malting; bulk grain processing plants; fish-processing plants; pulp and paper mills; food-processing plants; plants for the construction or repair of aircraft or railway equipment; plants for the manufacture or assembly of motor vehicles; plants for the manufacture of tanks, reservoirs and sheet-metal containers; plants for the manufacture of coal briquettes; and plant for manufacturing batteries;
- Electrical infrastructure including: electricity generation stations; electrical transmission lines; electrical sub-stations; and pumped-storage schemes.
- Management of hydrocarbons including: the storage of natural gas and combustible or explosive fuels.
- Waste disposal including: sites for hazardous waste disposal; sewage disposal works; works involving major atmospheric emissions; works emitting offensive odours and sites for solid waste disposal.
- Natural conservation areas including: creation of national parks, game reserves and buffer zones; establishment of wilderness areas; formulation or modification of forest management policies; formulation or modification of water catchment management policies; policies for the management of ecosystems, especially by use of fire; commercial exploitation of natural fauna and flora; and introduction of alien species of fauna and flora into ecosystems.
- Nuclear Reactors. All kinds of nuclear reactors.
- Major developments in biotechnology including the introduction and testing of genetically modified organisms.
Note: Environmental Auditing is a compulsory process that must be adhered to. In fact besides compliance with EMCA and as a statutory submission to NEMA, it helps the management of an establishment understand best how to manage sustainably all aspects in regards to good health and safe environment by achieving compliance.