Balancing between Two Extremes during Environmental Impact Assessment: a Case Study

  • Navin BindraEmail author
  • Masud Karim
Short Communication


The paper examines how opposing interests (cost effectiveness versus environmental sustainability) are balanced during the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. During an EIA study, it is the Environmental Specialist’s role to conduct an EIA and bridge the gap between the Proponent and Activists. This study involves the developmental impact of coal transportation through a mangrove forest, a sensitive ecosystem. There are three major areas of disagreement among the Proponent and Activist: (i) overall impact on Sundarbans Mangrove Reserve Forests (SMRF); (ii) impact of air emissions; and (iii) impacts due to coal shipment. Assessment showed air quality impacts would be within applicable standards and guidelines. There will be an increase in marine traffic due to coal transportation; however, if the recommended mitigation measures are followed, then the project will have a manageable and limited impact on the SMRF. There will be water quality degradation and coal dust accumulation in the riverbed at the coal trans-shipment point. An aquatic habitat of approximately 290 ha in size is recommended as compensation for degraded land in the study.


Coal transportation Sundarbans Environmental impact assessment CALPUFF Air quality Fugitive coal dust 



This study was funded by the Government of Bangladesh and Engconsult Ltd., Canada. Authors wish to confer thanks to the BIFPCL, Bangladesh Department of Environment and CEGIS, Bangladesh for providing support during the whole study period.


  1. Alom Z (2013) Waterways of the Sundarban: home to freshwater cetacean. In: Khan R (ed) Sundarban: rediscovering Sundarban, the mangrove beauty of Bangladesh. Nymphea Publication, Dhaka, p 178Google Scholar
  2. Aziz A, Paul AR (2015) Bangladesh Sundarbans: Present status of the environment and biota diversity, vol 7, pp 242–269. Google Scholar
  3. Bates A (2015) Methods of mitigating environmental impact. 2nd international conference on maintenance dredging. Proceedings of the International Conference on Maintenance Dredging, pp 137–149.
  4. Bratman E, Dias CB (2018) Development blind spots and environmental impact assessment: tensions between policy, law and practice in Brazil's Xingu river basin. Environ Impact Assess Rev 70:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bray RN, Bates AD, Land JM (1996) Dredging: A Handbook for Engineers. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, p 448Google Scholar
  6. Cashmore M (2004) The role of science in environmental impact assessment: process and procedure versus purpose in the development of theory environ. Impact Assess Rev 24:403–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chua TE (2006) Global environmental facility/United Nations development Programme/international maritime organization regional Programme on building partnerships in environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA). PEMSEA. The dynamics of integrated coastal management: practical applications in the sustainable coastal development in East Asia, Quezon CityGoogle Scholar
  8. Das BK, Samanta S, Suresh VR, Sahoo AK, Pandit A, Manna RK, Sarkar SD, Ekka A, Mohanty BP, Roshith CM, Raman RK (2015) Impact assessment of coal transportation through barges along the National Waterway no.1 (Sagar to Farakka) along river Ganga. ICAR-Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), Barrackpore, KolkataGoogle Scholar
  9. Department of Environment (DOE) (1997) Environmental conservation rules, Government of BangladeshGoogle Scholar
  10. Department of Environment (DOE) (2005) Amended environmental conservation rules, Government of BangladeshGoogle Scholar
  11. Doak N, Murai M, Douvere F (2016) Report on the Mission to the Sundarbans world heritage site, Bangladesh. December 2007: world heritage Centre mission; march 2016: joint world heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missionGoogle Scholar
  12. Dresser AL, Huizer RD (2011) CALPUFF and AERMOD model validation study in the near field: Martins Creek revisited. J Air Waste Manage Assoc 61(6):647–659. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hussain MZ (2014) Bangladesh Sundarban Delta vision 2050: a first step in its formation-document 2: a compilation of background information. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka, pp viii–v192Google Scholar
  14. IUCN (2013) World heritage advice note: Environmental Assessment & World Heritage. World heritage Programme, International Union for Conservation of nature, rue Mauverney 28 1196 gland Switzerland. Accessed 12 July 2017
  15. Johnson R, Bustin RM (2006) Coal dust dispersal around a marine coal terminal (1977–1999), British Columbia: the fate of coal dust in the marine environment. Int J Coal Geol 68:57–69. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lacerda LD, Martinelli LA, Rezende CA, Victoria RL, Silva CAR, Nogueira FB (1988) The fate of trace metals in suspended matter in a mangrove creek during a tidal cycle. Sci Tot Environ 75:249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lacerda LD, Carvalho CEV, Tanizaki KF, Ovalle ARC, Rezende CE (1993) The biogeochemistry and trace metals distribution of mangrove rhizospheres. Biotropica 25(3 (Sep, 1993):252–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mahabub E, Arafat ST, Das DK, Islam SS, Islam MR, Bhowmick RC, Rahman MR (2012) CLP ‘0217810: assessing the considerable human elements in the proposed sanctuaries for conserving threatened freshwater dolphins in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Conservation leadership program. Address: 221, Boro Mogbazar, Peyarabag Railgate, Dhaka-1217Google Scholar
  19. Malins DC, McCain BB, Landahl JT, Myer MS, Krahn MM, Brown DW, Chan S, Roubal WT (1988) Neoplastic and other diseases in fish in relation to toxic chemicals: an overview. Aquat Toxicol 11:43–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mansoor A (2016) Debate over Rampal power plant: 10 questions: authorities answers, counter response. The Daily Star, December 12, 2016Google Scholar
  21. Marine Pollution Monitoring Management Group (1998) National Monitoring Programme Survey of the Quality of UK Coastal waters. Marine Pollution Monitoring Management Group, Aberdeen, ISBN 0 9532838 36Google Scholar
  22. Morgan RK (2012) Environmental impact assessment: the state of the art. Impact Assess Proj Apprais 30(1):5–14. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Naidoo G, Chirkoot D (2004) The effects of coal dust on photosynthetic performance of the mangrove, Avicennia marina in Richards Bay, South Africa. Environ Pollut 127(3):359–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Naidoo G, Naidoo Y (2005) Coal dust pollution effects on wetland tree species in Richards Bay. South Africa, Wetlands Ecol Manage 13:509–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ramsar (2014) About the Ramsar convention. Ramsar Sites Information Services. Accessed 12 July 2017
  26. Sadooni F, Ibrahim E (1999) Mangrove as a bioindicator for environmental pollution in the coastal marine environments-review. Qatar Univ Sci J 19:137–151Google Scholar
  27. Salamanca EA (2018) Stakeholders' manipulation of environmental impact assessment. Environ Impact Assess Rev 68:10–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Scire JS, Strimaitis DG, Yamartino RJ (2000) A users guide for the CALPUFF dispersion model. Earth tech Inc. 196 baker avenue Concord, MA 01742Google Scholar
  29. Sheaves M, Coles R, Dale P, Grech A, Pressey RL, Waltham NJ (2015) Enhancing the value and validity of EIA: serious science to protect Australia’s great barrier reef. Conserv Lett 9-5:377–383. Google Scholar
  30. Smith BD, Haque AKMA, Hossain MS, Khan A (1998) River dolphins in Bangladesh: conservation and the effects of water development. Environ Manag 22(3):323–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith BD, Braulik G, Strindberg S, Ahmed B, Mansur R (2008) Abundance of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaellabrevirostris) and Ganges River dolphins (Platanista Gangetica) estimated using concurrent counts made by independent teams in waterways of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh. Mar Mamm Sci 22:527–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steinemann A (2001) Improving alternatives for environmental impact assessment. Environ Impact Assess Rev 21(1):3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. USEPA (1996) Compilation of air pollution emission factors, AP-42, fifth edition, volume 1: chapter 3: large stationary diesel and all stationary dual-fuel engines. Office of air Quality Planning and Standards Office of air and radiation. Research Triangle Park, NC 27711. Accessed 2 Aug 2017
  34. USEPA (1998) Compilation of air pollutant emissions factors (AP-42), fifth edition, volume 1: chapter 1: external combustion sources. Office of air Quality Planning and Standards Office of air and radiation. Research Triangle Park, NC 27711. Accessed 2 Aug 2017
  35. USEPA (2006) Compilation of air pollution emission factors, AP-42, fifth edition, volume 1: chapter 13: miscellaneous sources. Office of air Quality Planning and Standards Office of air and radiation. Research Triangle Park, NC 27711. Accessed 2 Aug 2017
  36. Watson T, Ritter L (2013) Environmental impact assessment for direct transfer coal facility. SNC-Lavalin (in conjunction with Soleil environmental consultants, School of Environmental Sciences University of Guelph). Prepared for Vancouver Fraser port authorityGoogle Scholar
  37. World Bank (2007) Environmental, health, and safety general guidelines. International Finance Corporation: World Bank Group. Accessed 20 Aug 2017
  38. Yang J (2017) Environmental impact assessment. In: Environmental Management in Mega Construction Projects. Springer, Singapore ISBN 978-981-10-3605-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engconsult Ltd.BramptonCanada

Personalised recommendations