The environment sustains all aspects of life, but there is growing concern that the impact of human activities and urban developments are responsible for environmental degradation. We depend on the environment for all our needs that include the following: water, food, clean air, and various commodities that are processed from natural resources extracted from the earth.
As such, Environmental Management (EM) deserves due attention to ensure sustainable development for the benefit of future generations. Everyone has a responsibility to play a role to protect our environment, and this extends to animals as well. However, certain individuals should play a leading role in promoting the EM initiative.
What Is Environmental Management?
Environmental Management is primarily concerned with offering research and different views on the use and conservation of the environment. The field of environmental management encompasses the protection of habitat and natural resources as well as the control of hazards.
Natural hazards can cause terrible damage to the environment. Therefore, disaster prevention plans need to be put in place to prevent severe impacts on the environment. On the other hand, human beings are the principal users of the environment as urban development continues hence their actions need to be closely monitored.
Environmental Management should encompass a wide range of viewpoints and approaches in order to protect our environment. EM should also include the work of academics, the business community, interest groups, researchers and government. These groups constitute the significant stakeholders who can have considerable influence on the management of the environment.
Role Of Environmental Managers In Community
Environmental managers are also known as sustainability managers, and they are responsible for monitoring the environmental performance in different sectors of the society. The industries that usually have an impact on the environment include private, public and voluntary organisations.
Environmental managers also have a crucial role in examining corporate activities since they have a high impact on the environment through manufacturing processes. In every community, there is some activity, but some corporations are primarily concerned about their profit goals at the expense of the natural environment.
All large organisations are compelled by law to produce environmental reports to establish the level of impact of their operations on the environment in which they operate. The managers have a role in assessing these audits as well as conducting an impact assessment to mitigate degradation of space.
To ensure sustainability, the people responsible for managing the environment need to identify problem areas and significant causes of environmental degradation. Resolving problems affecting the atmosphere is another critical area that deserves attention. The managers should also play a role in the establishing regions that require improvements in a bid to conserve nature.
In the same vein, the managers also need to ensure compliance with the environmental legislation in all sector organisations. In different countries across the Asian region, there are environmental laws that provide guidelines for environmental protection.
Responsible authorities need to implement and monitor all environmental strategies in the operations of different corporations to promote sustainable development practices. To achieve this feat, it is imperative for the management to offer training initiatives
Source: Meuthia Naim
Develop Environmental Management Systems
The people responsible for managing the environment also have a task of developing Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in their areas. EMS refers to the management of the organisation’s environmental programs systematically and comprehensively. It involves planning and resource allocation to ensure the sustainability of the community.
Each EMS in any organisation should follow the guidelines of the policy framework provided by relevant laws. Enforcement of such laws should also be the responsibility of the people with a task to manage different environmental issues in their respective organisations and communities.
Coordination Of Pollution Control And Waste Management
Environmental management in a particular community encompasses all aspects of pollution control and waste management. These are very important in promoting good ecological health among all people in different areas. To maintain pollution at a lower level, leaders can encourage options like recycling waste material for reuse.
The use of renewable energy is another option that can go a long way in promoting the protection of the environment. For instance, solar power has no impact on the environment, and the managers need to educate various people about its significance.
Managers of the environment should also engage local bodies and other relevant authorities to come up with environmental friendly guidelines. People in local communities need education about the measures they can take protect their areas. Through education, the management team can positively influence behaviour change among different individuals.
Promotion Of Best Practice
The element of best practice is another critical area that requires the input of the environmental managers. They need to compel their respective organisations to adopt ethical and social responsibility initiatives in their operations. Such action helps the firm to create mutual trust with the members of the community in which it operates.
Corporations need to develop a spirit of giving back to the communities in which they operate as a way of showing goodwill. The leaders also need to promote value creation that is shared by both organisations and members of the community. Such initiative leads to the production of shared responsibility concerning environmental protection.
Requirements For Communities To Create Environmental Plan
First and foremost, members of the community need to know that their welfare is wholly dependent on the environment around them. All economic activities, for example, have a strong link with nature. The quality of health, water as well as food to each community also depends on the natural resources available to them.
The community, therefore, needs to identify different aspects of the environment that need protection. Human impact on the environment is more pronounced in other elements like manufacturing, and these require more attention. Therefore, the community has a responsibility to outline its environmental plan by identifying the critical areas that need to control.
The plan needs to clearly state the measures to take in order to mitigate the severe impacts of human activities on the environment. Bad agricultural practices, for example, compromise the good environmental condition. The use of organic chemicals for agrarian purposes is another issue that requires cooperation among all members to address.
The improper disposable waste material also poses a health risk to all members of the community. These are issues that can be solved at a community level as long as there is a sound plan that guides the conduct of all members. Preventive measures to such problems should attract the attention of all concerned people living within a particular area.
The community environmental plan needs to state the strategies to take to restore the environment to its acceptable status in case of damage. Some activities that impact on the surrounding area in the community are unavoidable. Particular focus should be on ways about how each can play a role to limit environmental degradation.
The Environmental Management Plan Guidelines
The guidelines of the management plan should show the significance of various components of the environment that include social, physical as well as economic factors. The program should spell the regulation of some activities so that they do not destroy the ecosystem. Animals also survive on natural resources hence the need for an excellent balance in the survival of nature.
For every plan to succeed, the goals to be achieved should be clear from the onset so that people understand why it is crucial. In this particular case, the primary purpose of the plan is to enlighten the individuals in a specific community about the significance of their input keeping their areas free from damage.
The guidelines should also encourage projects that have substantial positive benefits while at the same time eliminating costly project that also impacts on the environment. Some initiatives are not worth the investment since they cause more harm to the earth than good.
There is a need for the plan to take into account the assessment of environmental risks from small scale to massive scale proportions. High ecological risks need more attention since their damage can be severe to reverse. Measures to avoid small dangers to nature should also be included in the guidelines of the plan.
The plan should also state the benefits of protecting the environment through best practice elements. All stakeholders need to know that protecting the environment is their responsibility; therefore, they need to play their role. There are high chances of behaviour change when the people involved know that they are the winners following the successful implementation of a specific initiative.
In implementing the plan, it should be clear from the onset of different individual roles. The success of the program mainly depends on the collaboration of the team members. Even if the ideas are right, the plan may not succeed if all the people involved lack a shared vision of goals to be achieved.
Components to be addressed By The Environmental Management Plan
The Environmental plan should also include the development of a tool called Environmental Management Information System (EMIS). The information system is essential since it helps to track environmental data for organisations operating in different sectors. The progress of the plan ought to be closely monitored to enable the coordinators to make necessary changes should the need arise.
The plan should also monitor the performance of the principal actors in implementing the program across different sectors. Continuous learning among all the members is significant since it helps them to grasp different changes that may take place in different environments. Education also helps the team members to come up with new strategies that can help in solving new challenges in environmental management.
At the community level, waste reduction is the major component that needs to be addressed. Dumping of refuse in places that have no proper facilities for waste disposal is a problem in some areas. Whether deliberate or not, dumping of waste material should not have room in any society.
This practice needs proper control so that it does not pose health risks to the citizens. The other alternative is to reduce waste by recycling it for reuse in the production of different items. The local authorities should take a leading role in waste management. Other private players can also take part in ensuring proper disposal of waste.
Environmental Management Plan And Stakeholder Participation
Compliance of the environmental guidelines by all stakeholders within a particular community is a component that requires special attention. Some form of punishment is necessary to correct the behaviour of people who are careless in their activities. For instance, failure to comply with the regulations should attract a penalty in the form of a fine to deter the other would be offenders to abide by the law.
The plan should also outline how the community intends to educate all the citizens about the importance of keeping their places clean. Training facilities to different stakeholders in environmental management can go a long way in promoting behaviour change among people towards nature. When many people share the same vision and goals, they will pull their efforts towards the same direction.
The environmental management system should assist the managers with planning, controlling and monitoring all environmental policies in corporations. These policies need to comply with the guidelines of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 2004.
ISO provides guidelines upon which different organisations should draw their environmental management policies. These guidelines should also act as a yardstick upon which the company can measure its progress towards attainment of the goals of environmental management.
Overall, environmental management practices play a pivotal role in uplifting the welfare of the people in different communities if adequately implemented. Thus, a delicate balance between the needs of the people and the environment is essential to ensure sustainability. Our current use of the environment should not compromise the need of future generations to enjoy the same resources.
Environmental awareness programs need initiation from the community level up to different sectors across various organisations. With the right knowledge, people from different walks of life will play their part in protecting the earth. However, environmental managers should take a leading role in the proper management of the entire environment in different regions across Asia.