Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a detailed systematic and crucial examination of the effects of a proposed project on the environment. An EIA identifies both negative and positive impacts of any proposed development activity or project, how it affects the environment people, their properties and the environment all in compliance with the Environmental management and Coordination Act (EMCA) regulations.

EIA also identifies measures to mitigate the negative impacts, while maximizing on the positive ones. EIA is basically a fact finding, fully consultative preventive process. It seeks to minimize adverse impacts on the environment and reduces risks. If a proper EIA is carried out, then the safety of the environment and lives in general can be properly managed at all stages of a proposed project-planning, design, construction, operation, monitoring and evaluation as well as a possible decommissioning.

Why Carry Out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The main Reason is to comply with the law. Other benefits for carrying out these assessments and ensuring a proposed project is Licensed before it commences include the following;

  • Identify both positive and negative impacts of a proposed project on the environment.
  • Predict likely changes on the environment as a result of the proposed development.
  • Evaluate the impacts of the various alternatives on the proposed project.
  • Propose mitigation measures for the significant foreseen negative impacts of the proposed project on the environment.
  • Generate baseline data for monitoring and evaluating impacts, including mitigation measures during the project cycle.
  • Highlight environment issues with a view to guiding policy makers, planners, stakeholders and government agencies to make environmentally and economically sustainable decisions.

Projects Requiring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The projects to be subjected to EIA are specified in the Second Schedule of EMCA 1999, and include:

1. General Projects

a)   Any proposed project that is out of character with its surrounding
b)   Any structure of a scale not in keeping with its surrounding
c)   Any proposed project with major changes in land use

2. Urban Development including:-

  • Proposed Apartments
  • Proposed Townhouses
  • Proposed Commercial Buildings
  • Proposed Office Blocks
  • Proposed designation of new townships
  • Proposed Godowns
  • Proposed Establishments; Schools/Institutions/Colleges/Hospitals/Churches/
  • Proposed establishment of industries/factories/Plants
  • Proposed Boreholes
  • Proposed Petrol Stations
  • Proposed establishment or expansion of recreational areas
  • Proposed establishment or expansion of recreational townships in mountain areas, national parks and game reserves
  • Proposed Shopping Malls/Centres and Complexes.
  • Any Proposed Urban development not listed above

3. Transportation Sector including: –
a)   All proposed major roads;
b)   All roads in scenic, wooded or mountainous areas and wetlands;
c)   All Proposed Railway lines;
d)   All proposed Airports and Airfields;
e)   Proposed oil and gas pipelines;
f)    Proposed Water Transport Systems.

4. Dams, rivers and water resources including: –
a)   Proposed storage dams, barrages and piers;
b)   Proposed River diversions and water transfer between catchments;
c)  Proposed flood control schemes;
d)   Drilling for the purpose of utilizing ground water resources including geothermal energy.

5. Aerial Spraying.

6. 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.

7. Forestry related activities including: –
a)   Timber harvesting
b)   Clearance of forest areas
c)   Reforestation and afforestation

8. Agriculture including: –
a)   A large-scale agriculture
b)   Use of pesticide
c)   Introduction of new crops and animals
d)   Use of fertilizers
e)  Proposed Irrigation Schemes.

9. Processing and manufacturing industries including:-
a)   Proposed mineral processing, reduction of ores and minerals
b)  Proposed smelting and refining of ores and minerals
c)   Proposed foundries
d)  Proposed brick and earthware manufacture
e)   Proposed cement works and lime processing
f)    Proposed glass works
g)   Proposed fertilizer manufacture or processing
h)   Proposed explosive plants
i)    Proposed oil refineries and petro-chemical works
j)    Proposed tanning and dressing of hides and skins
k)   Proposed abattoirs and meat-processing plants
l)    Proposed chemical works and process plants
m)  Proposed brewing and malting
n)   Proposed bulk grain processing plants
o)   Proposed fish-processing plants
p)  Proposed pulp and paper mills
q)  Proposed food-processing plants
r)   Proposed plants for the manufacture or assembly of motor vehicles
s)   Proposed plants for the construction or repair of aircraft or railway equipment
t)   Proposed plants for the manufacture of tanks, reservoirs and sheet-metal containers
u)   Proposed plants for the manufacture of coal briquettes
v)   Proposed plant for manufacturing batteries

10. Proposed Electrical infrastructure including: –
a)   Proposed electricity generation stations
b)  Proposed electrical transmission lines
c)   Proposed electrical sub-stations
d)   Proposed pumped-storage schemes.

11. Management of hydrocarbons including:-

12. Proposed the storage of natural gas and combustible or explosive fuels.

13. Waste disposal Activities including
a)   Proposed sites for hazardous waste disposal
b)   Proposed sewage disposal works
c)   Proposed works involving major atmospheric emissions;
d)  Proposed works emitting offensive odours
e)  Proposed sites for solid waste disposal.

14. Natural conservation areas including: –
a)   Proposed creation of national parks, game reserves and buffer zones
b)  Proposed establishment of wilderness areas
c)   Proposed formulation or modification of forest management policies
d)   Proposed formulation or modification of water catchment management policies
e)   Proposed policies for the management of ecosystems, especially by use of fire
f)   Proposed commercial exploitation of natural fauna and flora
g)  Proposed introduction of alien species of fauna and flora into ecosystems.

15. Nuclear Reactors.

16. Major developments in biotechnology including the introduction and testing of genetically modified organisms.

17. Any Proposed project as maybe advised by the national Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)

When an Environmental Impact Assessment should begin

EIA is part of the project development process and must be done at the initial stages of the project development. It is a decision making tool and should guide whether a project should be implemented, abandoned or modified prior to implementation to ensure it is sustainable and its impacts are well evaluated.

EIA as a Legal Requirement

A proponent or investor shall not implement a project likely to have a negative environmental impact, or for which an EIA is required by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act or regulations issued under it unless an EIA has been concluded and approved in accordance with the law. It is Your Responsibility to Implement Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Notwithstanding any licence, permit or approval granted under any written law, any person who commences, proceeds with, executes or conducts any project without approval granted under the Act (EMCA) or regulations issued under the Act commits an offence and on conviction is liable to the penalty prescribed under the Act.

No licensing authority under any law in force in Kenya shall issue a trading, commercial or development permit or license for any project for which an EIA is required or for a project/ activity likely to have cumulative significant negative environmental impacts unless the applicant produces an EIA licence issued by the Authority (NEMA).

Authority Licensing EIA Projects

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is mandated by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act EMCA) no 8 of 1999 in regards to the administration, enforcing, reviewing and making informed decisions on Environmental Impact Assessment for all proposed projects.

Payments for the EIA process

The project proponent (owner of the proposed project) pays for the entire EIA process. The costs involved range from the NEMA Official Submission Fees, Experts Consultancy Fees and all operational costs including advertisements and other operational costs.

The Official NEMA Fees for a proposed project is 0.1% of the total project cost of the project to a minimum of Kshs 10, 000/= with no upper capping; GAZETTE NOTICE NO. 13211.

Official NEMA Fees for EIA Licence Variation, Surrender or Transfer is: Kshs 5,000/=.

Who Conducts Environmental Impact Assessment

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is carried out ONLY by a qualified and authorized environmentalist who must be an Expert or a Firm of Experts registered and Licensed by NEMA (National Environment Management Authority) and must possess a Valid NEMA Practicing license.

How the Public Participates in EIA Process

The law requires that during the EIA process a proponent shall in consultation with the Authority seek the views of persons who may be affected by the project or activity through the administered questionnaires by NEMA licensed expert, posters, newspapers and radio. Hold public meetings with the affected parties and communities where they can air their views in a structured and documentable manner. Such views and comments are considered in reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment reports.

The next Step after Completion of the proposed project

After the NEMA licensed proposed Project has been developed and implemented, it has to operate for one year (12 Months). During this period the activities of the proposed project are closely monitored to ensure they are sustainable. Immediately after the twelve months are over an Initial Environmental Audit must be carried out by NEMA Licensed Experts. This will then determine the efficacy of the developed Environmental Management Plan and the Compliance level of that particular project. Thereafter there will be annual environmental Audit audits carried out that particular project to ensure its activities are environmentally sustainable.

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