What Is EIA Approval?
You may have seen that new developments around the Pattaya area advertise when they are ‘EIA Approved’ but you may not quite understand what it means.
EIA stands for The Environmental Impact Assessment, which is a process that has been applied in Thailand as a tool for environmental planning and management on development projects since 1981. The EIA has been used to recognise the effects of the projects as well as to establish the appropriate mitigation measures so that Thailand’s natural resources will be used efficiently to the economic benefit and continued development of Thailand.
The EIA is fundamentally an evaluation of the significance of both potentially positive and negative impacts of a development project. These potential environmental impacts are measured, and precautionary steps are taken accordingly.
The EIA is often referred to as an “analysis of the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of different types of projects or activities on the environment, conditions or circumstances that may affect those projects or activities, and in light thereof – measures for prevention, control and refinement before commencement of the projects or activities.” The topics that are covered in the EIA include; waste-water treatment, energy efficiency, solid waste management, traffic, air quality, soil and groundwater pollution, noise pollution, nature conservation, landscape, public health, visual aspects and social economic factors. This usually involves the collection and organisation of information to establish a starting point against which the potential impacts can be measured.
The environmental consultant will evaluate the scheme with regard to the above criteria and draft a report which clearly identifies the direct and indirect, short and long term, environmental impacts related to the project that is under assessment.
The EIA report will then make recommendations on how any identified opposing effects of the project can be prevented, reduced or managed. For projects with a significant negative environmental impact, it is required by the environmental consultant to consider alternative ways of delivering the project, more often than not these include design modifications to lessen the negative impacts, but in extreme cases can also include a recommendation to abandon the project and locate it elsewhere.
The EIA report will also include a monitoring plan which details the measures that will be taken to validate the efficiency of the environmental control and management commitments that are made in the EIA report for both the construction and operational phases of the project. For example, this could include a list of water quality parameters that will be measured in the emission of the project’s waste water treatment, including the method and frequency of the monitoring and associated reporting.