Environmental management and protection is the process of safeguarding the environment by monitoring humans’ interaction with their environments and the various components in them. We can evaluate the impact of human activities on the environment through environmental management. It helps us to control and limit the damage caused to the environment due to such activities.
Environmental management helps us to identify the factors that may lead to environmental degradation and helps in future predictions that might affect the present and future generations’ lives.
The main aim is to maintain and improve environmental resources like air, soil, forests, water, fossil fuels, etc. It helps to maintain the integrity of various ecosystems that support sustaining life on this planet.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Environmental Management and Protection?
- 2 What Is the Importance of Environmental Management?
- 3 Different Types of Environmental Management Systems
- 4 How to Raise Awareness Regarding Environmental Management?
- 5 Examples of Environmental Management
What is Environmental Management and Protection?
The term environment is coined from the French word ‘environia,’ which means to surround. The environment includes all the living and non-living components close to us and with whom we have daily interactions which are necessary for our survival.
It is the area in which we operate and includes all elements of nature. Organisms, including human beings, interact with the components of their environment to sustain life.
All organisms are highly dependent on their environments for food, water, and stable living conditions. Therefore, organisms need to manage the environment that they live in.
Environmental management involves environmental protection and sustainability, wildlife management, forest management, soil management, human resource management, water resource management, natural resource management, etc.
Environmental management also includes the components of the biophysical environment and the human environment, like the social, cultural, political, and economic environments.
The components of the environment are the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. It provides us with all ingredients necessary for living a comfortable life. For example, water, soil, organisms, air, and solar energy. The environment can be divided into various types:
- microenvironment and
- macro environment;
- physical and biotic environment
The microenvironment includes all living and non-living organisms present in an individual’s immediate or local surroundings, whereas a macro environment is the one that externally surrounds the individual.
The physical environment comprises all the abiotic factors or conditions like temperature, rainfall, light, minerals, soil, etc. It also comprises of atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. On the other hand, the biotic environment comprises all biotic factors or living forms like animals, micro-organisms, plants, etc.
The environment is our home; it nourishes and protects us. It is the storehouse of all resources that are necessary to sustain life. The environment provides us food, water, oxygen, shelter, medicines, and other necessities. We can say that environment in our lives covers everything for everyone, and therefore, we must try to protect it and maintain its integrity at all costs.
But, we often forget the importance of the environment and engage in activities that will cause harm to it. Examples of such activities include deforestation, soil erosion, destruction of wildlife, air pollution, water pollution, etc.
Such harmful activities have been going on for generations, leading to many severe changes in our environment. For example:
- Extinction and endangerment of various species of flora and fauna are necessary to maintain balance in the ecosystem.
- It is leading to the pollution of oceans and drying out of different water bodies like seas, rivers, and lakes.
- It is melting snow and ice on mountains due to global warming.
- Depletion of the ozone layer, wiping up fossil fuels, emission of harmful gases like chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), carbon mono oxide (CO), methane (CH4), and other toxic gases into the air from factories and vehicles.
- Accumulation of plastic waste in every layer of the lithosphere, dangerous wildfires are destroying acres of forests and millions of animals in it.
What Is the Importance of Environmental Management?
We can say that we have only few years to reverse the negative effect on our precious environment. Therefore, environmental management is the need of the hour.
Environmental management is the tool with which we can promote environmental protection and take care of public health from the toxicity produced by harmful human activities with different resources of the environment.
Many business companies worldwide are coming forward with many environmental management systems and plans and adding them to their business agendas for environmental protection.
The various benefits and importance of environmental management are as follows:
- Environmental management reduces the chances of risks of environmental incidents like oil spills in oceans or forest fires, or the blowing up of coal mines, thereby ensuring environmental protection.
- It improves company’s reputation by promoting their brand image as eco-friendly and helps secure the market, which further helps them gather clients and lower their operating costs.
- Environmental management helps improve public health and the overall health of the ecosystem by minimizing the harm done due to the negligence of big companies and promoting environmental protection.
- Increases the workforce’s knowledge about the impact of careless business policies on the environment and focuses their attention on adopting ways that will help reduce environmental depletion.
- Environmental management and protection help in the reduction of waste produced by companies as by-products during manufacturing.
- It helps with new business ideas using waste by-products to create new products. The by-products of petroleum are used to manufacture Vaseline, LPG, gasoline, paraffin wax petrochemicals, etc.
- It will help us to combat all main types of pollution i.e., air, water, land, thermal, radiation, and noise pollution.
- It helps to set objectives and different frameworks for training to achieve optimum results.
- Achieving optimum utilization of resources by following proper order and maintaining consistency throughout the process.
The environmental management systems (EMS) followed by various companies worldwide for environmental protection are under the following heading.
Different Types of Environmental Management Systems
Different companies use different environmental management systems (EMS) to improve environmental performance, reduce or minimize risks and business overloads.
There are three popular and widely used environmental management systems: ISO 14001, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), and ISO 14005. The framework and key elements of these environmental management systems are as follows:
- ISO 14001– All types and sizes of organizations can use this system. It describes the various requirements necessary for environmental management certification, including formulating policies and objectives, significant environmental aspects, prevention of pollution, and improved overall environment.
- The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) – It is similar to the ISO 14001 and requires a preliminary review of a complete environmental statement in non-technical language and an independent verification.
- ISO 14005 – This system allows an organization to focus on those environmental aspects that it considers most relevant and ensures the system’s scope is in line with its environmental policy and objectives. It also incorporates a maturity matrix that helps to measure the company’s progress.
Most environmental management systems incorporate the Plan-Do-Check-Act model, ensuring that the environmental issues are systematically identified, controlled, and monitored by the organization’s environmental policies. Further reviewed and updated periodically.
How to Raise Awareness Regarding Environmental Management?
It is crucial to implement ways of environmental management and raise awareness regarding the same for the promotion of environmental protection. The best place to start is from schools. It is not unknown that children are very fast learners.
Let’s say they are given training from their formative years with respect to environmental management and protection. In that case, they can grow up to become environment–friendly individuals who know how to make the environment sustainable for themselves and other life as well.
Some practical ways in which schools can help children learn the art of environmental management are:
- Introducing the 3 R’s – Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Children should be taught how to reduce waste products, reuse old products, and recycling materials for new usage.
- They should be taught the importance of trees in sustaining life, which can be done through tree planting ceremonies and the like.
- Children should also be encouraged to conserve non-renewable energy sources like water and electricity.
Role of Governments in Environmental Management
There are available policy options encouraging companies to practice environmental management and protection. These are information policy instruments, self-regulatory policy instruments, incentive-based policy instruments, and direct regulatory policy instruments.
The governments can also play a role in promoting and implementing environmental management through various measures:
- They can make new policy package regarding the promotion and implementation of environmental management and environmental protection.
- They can Develop guidelines for the companies regarding the process of environmental protection management and reporting of the same.
- Respective governments can further make new and improved guidelines and policies for government agencies regarding the implementation of environmental management systems.
- They can make strict rules regarding a person and company who does not follow guidelines properly.
Examples of Environmental Management
Some latest examples on environmental management and protection are as follows:
- With the change in power in the USA, the government is planning on implementing climate preservation policies and forming federal agencies exclusively with the purpose of a global impact regarding climate change with climate expert’s help.
- A report in The Guardian highlighted the European Union’s commitment to expanding offshore wind farm capacity by 25%. The proposal would create 62,000 jobs and help towards carbon neutrality.
- Inc has named “HelioHeat” one of the best inventions of 2020, which will use solar energy in place of tons of toxic fossil fuels to make steel and concrete, which are used to build everything around us.
- General Motors Co. has also helped in environmental management by vouching to reduce carbon emissions as they plan to release 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade.
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