Ranging from mining activities to construction projects, environmental destruction has been the single biggest bane of industrialization and infrastructural development in Nigeria. It is in view of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria demands as a regulatory requirement, that every project or facility that falls under certain categories must develop an Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Programme (EPRP) before commencement. These categories are defined in the specific government act relating to the industry where the project belongs. As a case study, projects around mining must refer to the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act of 2007.
In the quest for sustainable development, the negative impacts of projects such as degradation of land, destruction of the biodiversity, contamination of water, etc. can simply not be ignored. As a result, firms, contractors and project managers must undertake a comprehensive EPRP and therefore prepare an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the various aspects which may be affected due to the activities of the proposed project.
Some objectives of the EPRP include;
- To satisfy rules and regulations on environmental issues, which may either be local, state, federal or international;
- To acquire baseline data of the environment as well as the socio-economic and health conditions around project sites and host communities;
- To evaluate and select host project alternatives from the options available;
- To assess the environmental cost and benefits of the project to the community likely to be affected by the proposed project;
- To identify and evaluate all potential impacts of the proposed project on the environment and surrounding communities;
- To recommend appropriate measures to prevent, reduce or control the identified potential negative impacts of the proposed project;
- To develop an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for all phases of the proposed project.
Below are basic hints on what you need to develop an EPRP;
- You need to understand the associated and potential impacts of the project:
When developing an EPRP for a proposed project, the likely impacts are to be identified and evaluated with due consideration to the different phases of the project vis-à-vis the current status of the project area. Your assessment could be based on field observations, professional judgement, gathering baseline data, or using existing literature.
- You need to gather baseline environmental data on the proposed project area and further its ecology and geology:
Baseline environmental data will include noise level, air quality, water quality, soil quality drainage pattern, hydrology, topography, flora and fauna, and vegetation. These data will help understand the current status of the project area and will be useful when analysing the eventual environmental impact of the project.
- You need to understand the criteria for writing the management plan:
The plan must contain specific details like name, address and contact of agents of the project proponent who will be receiving any notice that is required from regulators. A topographic map or land survey of the proposed project area is also an important requirement to be featured in the management plan. The description of the type of reclamation and restoration measures is of absolute essence.
- You need to get necessary permits, licenses and leases from the government and participatory stakeholders: Permits are industry specific, you will need to enquire and get required permits for your targeted industry. We easily can help you do all that at Ashawa Consults Ltd.
- You need to do public consultation and disclosure:
Public consultation plays a critical role in raising awareness of a project’s impacts and gaining agreement on management and technical approaches in other to maximize benefits and reduce negative consequences. It can lead to reduce financial risks (from delays, legal disputes and negative publicity) direct course saving, increase market share (through good public image) and enhance benefits to local communities. Public involvement in planning and implementing projects can be brought about through consultation and participation. It evolves soliciting peoples’ view on the proposed actions and engaging host communities in meaningful discussions in order to further understand their perception of the project and their socio-economic needs; with a view to better provision of the moral duties of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- You need to develop your specific environmental protection measures, create an Environmental Management System and do your documentation:
Protection measures may include dust control measures, extraction control measures, etc. they are industry dependent. One of the most important objectives of an EPRP is to ensure the appropriate mitigation measures for preventing or reducing identified associated and potential impacts of the proposed project to a level as Low as Reasonable Practicable (ALARP). A Waste Management Plan is an essential pillar of the EMP. Having collected all necessary information, a well written report will round it up nicely.
At Ashawa Consults Ltd, we are specialists at developing EPRPs that scale all bounds for our clients. You can check out a sample EPRP report we developed for one of our clients above.