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Two Examples of Environmental Impact Assessments Essay

The cities of Baku, Azerbaijan and Kingston, Ontario Canada are worlds apart, both geographically and culturally. They share at least one characteristic: the need for water. Like every other city on earth, they have built systems to accommodate their needs for water, electricity, and all the other necessities of modern life. Each city also has environmental problems that go hand in hand with urban habitation. The two Environmental Impact Assessments are examples of the challenges engineers and city planners face everyday to minimize the adverse effects on the ecosystem.

Both cities, like all modern cities, are locked in a perpetual struggle to find a balance between the needs of the environment and the needs of the city. Wastewater Treatment In Baku, Azerbaijan Azerbaijan is a small country in central Asia on the Caspian Sea. Russia lies to the north. Georgia is to the northwest, Armenia is to the west, and Iran is on its southern border. The capitol of Azerbaijan is Baku and is also its largest city. Located on the Absheron peninsula, it is home to nearly 2 million people.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on the planet and Baku is its largest port . Azerbaijan is rich in petroleum products and oil drilling has polluted Baku and the Caspian Sea. The Hovsan Wastewater Treatment Plant is another source of pollution to Baku and the Caspian Sea. The treatment plant handles almost half of the capitol’s wastewater. The wastewater is only partially treated and then dumped into the Caspian Sea via pipeline. The result has made most of the beaches around Baku unusable.

The area surrounding the treatment plant inland is also unpleasant because of the odor. In the past, recreation along the sea shore was the most popular recreation for the public and tourists. Today, many are surprised to hear this fact because the bay is so polluted from sewage(Gischler, 2000, p. 41). There is a project proposed to alleviate the shoreline pollution. The plan is to extend the length of the pipeline farther out into the Caspian so the currents will disperse and diffuse the effluent material into the sea and away from the beaches.

The current system is so inadequate because of years of neglect that it can only hope to just catch up to its current needs in a few years time. The construction of the longer pipeline will cause some negative effects, but they pale in comparison to the present state of the littoral around Baku. Table 1 outlines the environmental impact projected from the construction of the pipeline. The construction of the outfall is still in the planning stages, but it is expected to start in 2011. Water Treatment In Kingston, Ontario

The expansion of the Point Pleasant Treatment Plant in Kingston, Ontario is the focus of this half of the paper. Kingston shares with Baku the distinction of being on the shore of one of the largest inland bodies of water, Lake Ontario. Kingston is located in the province of Ontario in Eastern Canada. To the west is Manitoba, east is Quebec, north is Hudson Bay, and Lake Ontario is to the south.. The Point Pleasant Treatment Plant is a direct filtration facility that supplies the 118,000 people of Kingston with drinking water.

The water is drawn from Lake Ontario and goes through a series of filters and chemical treatments before being piped into the main water supply. The Point Pleasant project proposes to double the water pumped in and treated from 40 MLD (mega litres per day) to 80 MLD. The increase is needed for the projected increase in population and expected changes in regulatory standards for drinking water purity. The EIA for the plant’s upgrade identifies the surrounding vegetation and trees as being vulnerable to harm from construction activities during the plant’s renovation.

The Butternut tree is specified in the report as a major concern because it is already an endangered species. Other issues are the pollution of the ground water and soil erosion. Table 2 outlines the environmental impact from the upgrade of the facility. Kingston’s treatment plant’s upgrade is one that shows the existing system is sound because it is for projected future use and not just getting the current system up to par. The many years of investments and planning regarding the water infrastructure have paid off so they do not have to “catch up” just to make the system function nominally.

A strong infrastructure can mean less damage to the environment. Conclusion Environmental impact from city living is inevitable, but it can be minimized. It requires a firm commitment to good planning and major investments in clean technologies. Comparing the upgrade of the water treatment plant in Kingston and the plant in Baku illustrate the differences in the conditions of each city’s water systems. Laws protecting the environment vary from country to country and it is evident that Azerbaijan had few such laws. Canada has much more stringent environmental protection laws than Azerbaijan.

Although Kingston has a much smaller population, the larger cities of Canada have done fairly well protecting the environment. Unfortunately, a country’s wealth dictates the priority that can be given to environmental protection. Lower standards for the construction and maintainence of urban infrastructure increases the chances of environmental degradation. References Azerbaijan. (2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved May 23, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online Library Edition: http://www. library. eb. com/eb/article-44298 Baku. (2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica.

Retrieved May 23, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online Library Edition: http://www. library. eb. com/eb/article-9011883 Gischler, Maarten A (2000, summer) “Beautifying the Bay” Azerbaijan International, 8(2), 40-42 Kingston. (2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved May 23, 2010, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online Library Edition: http://www. library. eb. com/eb/article-9045553 Townsend, Mike. (2002, July). BETWEEN TWO SEAS: Progress on the BTC Pipeline Project. Azerbaijan International, 10(3), 90. http://ezproxy. spl. org:2048/loginurl=http://proquest. umi. com/pqdweb


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