ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN INDUSTRIES:
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14-06-2009, 08:57 AM


ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN INDUSTRIES:
THE CHANGING PARADIGM
Dr. G. MADHU
PROFESSOR OF SAFETY ENGINEERING
SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, CUSAT
COCHIN-682022, INDIA
Email - profmadhu@cusat.ac.in
Introduction
The term Ëœenvironmentâ„¢ is a collective term
embracing all the conditions in which an organism
lives, for example, light, temperature, water and
other organisms. In other words, the environment
is the sum total of physical (abiotic) and biotic
conditions influencing the responses of the
organism. Economic development without any
concern for environment has resulted in large
scale degradation of the environment. It is now
generally recognized that population, resources,
environment and development are inextricably
linked and the relationship is extremely complex.
These inter-relationships need to be understood
for proper appreciation of the issues involved in
the integration of environment with development
2
.
Industrial activities since the days of industrial
revolution have contributed much to environmental
degradation. The perils
of
well
known
environmental disasters like ËœMinamata diseaseâ„¢,
ËœLondon smogâ„¢ and ËœBhopal tragedyâ„¢ and the
pressures of stringent legislations have forced
industries all over the world, both in and
developed world, to adopt management
ABSTRACT
Environmental management mainly aims at
environment protection and conservation of
resources. A number of tools are available for
achieving these goals. They include pollution
prevention, pollution control,
environmental
legislations, environmental audit, environmental
impact assessment, environmental
quality
standards and environmental system standards.
The paper discusses how these tools are relevant
to Indian industry. It also gives an overview of the
tools of more recent origin like life cycle
assessment, industrial symbiosis and systems
modeling.
strategies to minimize the environmental impact of
their
activities. The main
objective
of
environmental management is to ensure resource
conservation and environment protection. A
number of tools are available for this purpose. The
salient features of these tools with special
reference to chemical process industry are
discussed in the sections that follow.
Pollution prevention
Pollution prevention means source reduction and
other practices that reduce or eliminate the
creation of pollutants through increased efficiency
in the use of raw materials, energy, water, or other
resources or protection of natural resources by
conservation
3
.Pollution prevention is an industryâ„¢s
first priority in the environmental management
hierarchy for reducing risks to human health and
environment from pollution. The hierarchy includes
(1) prevention, (2) recycling, (3) treatment, and (4)
disposal or release.
Source reduction and recycling are comprised of a
number of practices and approaches. Source
reduction techniques include process chemistry
modifications, engineering design modifications,
additional
automation
and
operational
modifications. Reuse and recycling (waste
recovery) can provide a cost-effective waste
management approach
4
. This technique can help
reduce costs for raw materials and waste disposal
and possibly provide income from a salable waste.
However, waste recovery should be considered in
conjunction with source control options. Waste
reuse and recycling entail one or a combination of
the following options:
Æ’ Use in a process
Æ’ Use in another process
Æ’ Processing for reuse
Æ’ Use as a fuel
Æ’ Exchange or salePage 28

Journal of HSE & Fire Engineering
Issue 2 March 2009
Page 19
Pollution control
Pollution control techniques may be considered
as the oldest among the tools for environmental
management.
These techniques are often
referred to as Ëœend-of-pipe Ëœtreatment. The aim
of pollution control should be to reduce the
concentration of pollutant in a medium like air or
water so that it becomes innocuous.
The
technologies available for the control of air and
water
pollution
and
hazardous
waste
management can be broadly classified in to
physical, chemical and biological processes
5
. In
addition to these, advanced treatment methods
are employed for the removal of nutrients and
recalcitrant substances from waste water.
The physical methods for pollution control are
based on physical unit operations. The physical
methods for water pollution control include
screening,
sedimentation,
coagulation,
flocculation, and filtration and dissolved air
floatation. For the removal of particulate matter
from
gas
streams,
the
following basic
mechanisms are employed: (1) gravitational
settling, (2) centrifugal impaction, (3) inertial
impaction, (4) direct interception, (5) diffusion,
and (6) electro-static precipitation.
The examples of chemical methods for pollution
control are dis-infection of waste water using
chlorine/ozone,
chemical
precipitation
of
fluorides and phosphates present in waste water
and absorption methods for the removal of
pollutants like sulphur dioxide and ammonia from
gaseous streams.
Biological treatment methods are capable of
removing suspended as well as dissolved
organics from waste water utilizing the metabolic
activity of micro organisms
6
. The biological
methods are of two types: aerobic and
anaerobic.
Both aerobic and anaerobic
processes are further classified into “ attached
growth and suspended growth. In attached
growth process, the microbial biomass grows
attached to a medium (egg. Trickling filter /
Anaerobic filter) whereas the microbial biomass
remains in suspension in the case of a
suspended growth process (eg. Activated sludge
process). Most of the pollution control methods
need huge capital investment and high operating
costs. Skilled man power is required for the proper
operation of these systems.
Environmental legislations
Environmental legislations play an important role
in environmental management. Ever since the UN
conference on human environment held at
Stockholm in 1972, most of the countries have
enacted legislations for the prevention and control
of pollution.
The major legislations brought about in India for
environmental management are:
1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)
Act, 1974
2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)
Cess Act, 1977
3. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution)
Act, 1981
4. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
A number of rules have been formulated as part of
the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; the most
important among them being:
(a) Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling)
Rules, 1989
(b) Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous
Chemicals Rules, 1989
©
Notification on
Environmental Impact
Assessment of Developmental Projects, 1994.
Environmental audit
Environmental auditing (EA), the process of
determining whether all or selected levels of an
organization are in compliance with regulatory
requirements and internal policies and standards,
has proved to be a powerful component of
environmental
management
programmes.
Auditing, the activity of verification, is comparison
of outcomes against expectations. An EA verifies
the performance of people and systems which are
intended
to
promote
compliance
with
environmental requirements, corporate policies
and compliance assurance procedures. EA can be
considered as a management information system
(MIS) that provides management with specific
information on how the firm is performing with
respect to both externally establishedPage 29

Journal of HSE & Fire Engineering
Issue 2 March 2009
Page 20
The environmental
auditing
involves
the
following seven steps:
audit planning,
understanding internal management systems
and procedures, assessing strengths and
weaknesses of internal controls, gather audit
evidence, evaluate audit findings, report audit
findings, and audit follow-up.
Environmental impact assessment
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) may be
considered an activity, designed to identify and
predict the impacts of proposed project and implimentations and
policies on the biogeophysical environment and
on manâ„¢s health and well being and to interpret
and communicate information about the impacts
8
.
The summary report of an EIA study is
referred to as the environmental impact
statement (EIS). The EIA process consists of
three main stages which are given below:
1. A pre-study period in which specific
guidelines for EIA study are framed.
2. The assessment study period which
results in EIS.
3. The post-study period in which the
information
is
used
and
the
recommendations are monitored.
Environmental quality standards
There exist quality standards for environmental
components like air, water and noise. The air
quality standards are usually evolved based on
legal requirements, ambient concentration limits
and the best available technologies. Air quality
limits are typically derived from health criteria for
the substances in question
9
.
Water quality
standards are generally evolved based on legal
requirements, quality of the receiving water
body, dilution potential in the water body and
available technology.
Environmental system standards
Environmental system standards like ISO 14001
have given a new direction to environmental
management in industries. The system standard
ISO 14001 specifies the requirements for
developing and implementing an environmental
management system (EMS) in an industry. All
the system standards are based on the well
established management principle of P (plan)-D
(Do)-C (Check)-A (Act). The ISO 14001 EMS
standard emphasizes a pro active approach in
environment
protection
and
resource
conservation.
Life cycle assessment
Life cycle refers to the cradle-to-grave stages
associated with the production, use, and disposal
of any product.
A complete life cycle
assessment (LCA), or ecobalance, consists of
three complementary components
10
.Inventory
analysis, which is a technical, data-based
process of quantifying energy and resource use,
atmospheric and water borne emissions, and
solid waste. Impact analysis, which is a
quantitative, and qualitative process
to
characterize and assess the effects of the
resource use and environmental loadings
identified in the inventory stage improvement
analysis,
which is
the evaluation and
implementation of
opportunities
to
effect
environmental
improvement.
Life
cycle
assessment can be used for rating the
environmental soundness a product. The eco
labeling system prevailing in many European
countries is based on LCA.
Industrial symbiosis
From the time of industrial revolution, industry
developed independently of surrounding natural
systems. However, the perception that industry
is independent of natural systems is now
changing. One of the outcomes of this change is
the
emergence
of
new
environmental
management system called industrial ecology
(IE) or industrial symbiosis. IE can be defined as
the means by which humans can deliberately and
rationally approach and maintain a desirable
carrying capacity given continued economic,
cultural and technological evolution. The concept
requires that all industrial systems be viewed not
in isolation from surrounding system, but in
concert with them. The concept of IE is based on
the premise that industrial systems are
comparable to ecosystems with inputs of energy
and materials and outputs of waste energy and
materials.Page 30

Journal of HSE & Fire Engineering
Issue 2 March 2009
Page 21
Systems modeling
A system is a collection of components arranged
and interconnected in such a way that when a
change occurs with respect to one component,
the effect of the change is felt by the other
components as well. The components may be
subsystems, physical, chemical, biological or a
combination of all three. A distinguishing feature
of systems is that they have one or more inputs
and outputs. The inputs are forcing functions
and the outputs are responses. There are three
types of models describing the behaviour of
environmental systems: transport phenomena
models, empirical models, and population
balance models. These mathematical models
embody either deterministically or statistically the
characteristic properties of the system they
represent.
Conclusion
A number
of
tools
are available
for
environmental management in manufacturing
industries.
If used in conjunction with other
management systems of the organization, these
tools will definitely contribute to improving its
environmental performance. The awareness
about these tools is essential for all those who
are involved in environmental protection and
management in industries.
Reference
1. Kendeigh SC. (1974). Ecology with special
reference to animals and man. Prentice-Hall of
India Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi
2. Sastry CA (1989). Environment and
development. Journal IAEM. 16, 20-25.
3. Rittmeyer RW (1991). Prepare an effective
pollution “ prevention program. Chem. Eng.
Progress (May).
Doerr WW (1993). Plan for the future with
pollution prevention.
Chem. Eng. Progress
(January).
Rao CS (1991). Environmental pollution control
engineering. New Age International (P) Ltd
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