Natural resources, climate change and global warming.
Resource depletion, waste and recycling.
Solutions for minimizing negative impacts.
Limitation on the usage fuel
Green practices for construction.
Use of reusable technology.
With the intensive development of the industries in the contemporary era, the human impact on the environment is significantly increasing and the components related to it are subjected to foremost changes (Othman & Ahmed, 2013). Various engineering projects have a tremendous impact on the environment all through the lifecycle of the development. The environmental impact due to large scale engineering projects has acquired increasing significance in the past few decades. The impact of construction activities takes place from the preliminary work on-site throughout construction, operation and final demolition which implies the end of the building's life.
This report discusses some of the impacts of construction projects on a large scale. It also looks into the various ways of eliminating or minimizing these impacts. The aim of the study is to understand the major impact of the large scale engineering projects, such as construction, on the environment and the ways through which these impacts can be mitigated.
Construction is considered to be a process of creating infrastructure or buildings and is one of the parts of engineering projects. The large scale construction entails collaboration all through the various disciplines. These large scale projects are regarded as megaprojects. The construction is categorized into different types such as:
Residential- these are projects that mainly include townhouses, houses, apartments, cottages, condominiums and single-unit dwellings.
Building- this is one of the most popular and common types of project which involves the process of adding structure into the real property.
Commercial and institutional- this type of project takes into consideration a wide variety of project size and types such as clinics, hospital, schools and universities.
Industrial- it is the portion of the whole construction industry and is considered to be the most important section of the industry.
Highway construction- the project of highway construction includes construction, repair or alteration of highways, roads, runways, paths, alleys, parking areas and so on.
Heavy construction- this project may involve water sewer line, dams, flood control projects, sewage treatment plants and facilities, water treatment plants and facilities and dredging projects.
There is no doubt that the construction industry has a great role to play in the welfare of the country that mainly includes the development of residential housing, industrial plants and restoration of infrastructure of the nation along with various other facilities (Zhang et al., 2014). Moreover, large scale engineering projects are majorly based on five attributes such as long duration but program urgency, high capital cost, logistically and technologically demanding, leading towards virtual enterprise and demanding multidisciplinary inputs from different organizations (Dong & Ng, 2015).
Some of the large scale projects in the world include:
Dubai’s Al Maktoum international airport
Jubail, Saudi Arabia
London Crossrail Project
Highspeed railway, California
Chuo Shinkansen, Japan
Beijing Airport, China
Great man-made river project, Libya
However, the activities involved in these large scale construction process has a great impact on the environment, even if the total construction period is shorter comparatively with respect to the different stages of the life of a building. There are records related these large scale projects that provide the evidence that these are not well-managed and negatively impact the environment even when the established principles are followed by the project team.
The deterioration of the environment has captured the attention of the whole world and has become of the most discussed topics globally, nationally and locally. It can be said that the world is in crucial environmental catastrophe (Dixon, 2010). The rapid growth in population and expedition for development like built environment has led in the depletion of the ozone layer, resource depletion, global warming and ecosystem destruction. This has put the environment along with the construction industry under the limelight due to the impact of the activities on the environment.
There has been progressively growing distressed related to the negative impact of the large scale activities on the environmental health that eventually affects human health. Although this mega engineering project development contributes potentially to the social and economic development as well as enhancement in the quality of life and standard of living, it strongly connected with the worsening of the environment (Dixon, 2010).
The large scale projects related to the construction industry has a crucial irretrievable impact on the environment all through a wide spectrum of the associated activities at the time of on-site, off-site and operational activities that tend to amend ecological integrity.
The major impact of large scale engineering projects of construction described below:
Natural resources, climate change and global warming
The natural resources are used on a large scale at the time of construction process that mainly includes land, energy, water and materials. Additionally, the equipment operations for construction consume natural resources such as diesel fuel or electricity. The large scale projects are responsible for utilizing a high amount of natural resources along with the production of pollution in the large amount due to energy consumption at the time of transportation and extraction of raw materials. The large scale construction project results in the generation of global considerable impacts.
This has a contribution of about 50% of the total energy consumption of the countries belonging to the high-income category and is also responsible for greenhouse emissions (Ametepey & Ansah, 2014). The major amongst these is carbon dioxide. The energy derived from the fossil fuel is utilized in producing materials required for the construction process and by the dweller or the users of the structure all through the lifetime is considered to be the source of a considerable amount of carbon dioxide (Li & Chen, 2017).
These mega projects demand the loss of forests as the timber is used on a large scale and also in offering energy for the manufacture of buildings materials (Ametepey & Ansah, 2014). Both burning of fossil fuels and deforestation has a direct contribution to global warming. This is eventually leading to climate change globally.
There are a large number of pollutants that are released in the environment or biosphere resulting in the contamination of water and land (Enhassi, Kochendoerfer & Rizq, 2015). This is mainly due to the negligence of on-site that leads in the toxic spillages and then these get washed into the underground aquatic systems as well as reservoirs. The activities related to the large scale construction projects pose hazards of establishing pollutants in the environment affecting workers available on-site, local ground, neighbourhood, and water and air quality (Ametepey & Ansah, 2014). Similar kinds of impacts can take place at the time of operational stage of development and this can disturb the whole equilibrium between the ground, air and water and thereby introduce the danger of pollution (Dixon, 2010).
Resource depletion, waste and recycling
There is a large volume of waste being generated due to the production, transportation and utilization of materials. Most of the wastes generated from the large scale construction activities are unnecessary. Moreover, screening, examining and managing the waste of construction for recycling can consume a lot of time and also the lack of awareness related to environment can establish significant barriers to the advantages of recycling (Udawatta et al., 2015).
Therefore, it can be said that the construction practices have a significant impact causing various issues to the environment that majorly include water, air and land. Hence, there is an urgent requirement to manage these unfavourable impacts due to large scale engineering projects with an aim to preserve the human environment.
As we have seen the noteworthy impact of the large scale engineering projects on the environment of the entire world, therefore it is essential to be aware and take initiative to minimize the environmental impact due to construction projects that are harming ground, water and air.
Different Ways of minimizing
Below are the ways describing how to limit the environmental impact that takes place because of large scale construction activities:
1. Limitation on the usage fuel
The greatest negative impact of the construction project on the environment is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as diesel and gas. For limiting the usage of fuel:
Lessen haul distances
Reduction in the vehicle idling time
Using greener, an alternative fuel sources
Use of hybrid equipment
2. Green practices for construction
The noise produced due to construction is one of the major reasons for noise pollution. The noise generated is mainly by machinery in site preparation, landscaping and demolition (Nezhnikova, 2017). Sometimes, the construction site is near to residents and businesses and may disturb and generate a lot of noise. This should be checked before beginning with the project and at the planning stage. Moreover, the construction firms must use the upgraded heavy equipment to more fuel-efficient models or may use alternative fuel sources if possible along with the limitation in the number of time machines spending idling and attentively maintaining all the equipment.
Additionally, whenever it seems possible, reusing and recycling of materials should be considered instead of filling up of local landfills as this can be helpful in the reduction of construction waste (Dahlbo et al., 2015). By salvaging, recycling and reusing the existing materials, the construction company can reduce the usage of all those materials that harm the precious earth. Appliances, hardware and fixtures can be reused or recycled. These can further be utilized for future construction projects. Apart from this, concrete and brick can be recycled and utilized as driveway bedding or fill along with the woods and metals that are also considered to be the essential commodities which can be recycled (Behera et al., 2014).
3. Eco-friendly design
The construction company may have the chance of making choices concerning eco-friendly at the design phase of the project (Elgizawy et al., 2016). For example, materials that can be recycled or any natural building materials can be used by companies that do not produce carbon dioxide on a large scale. The design team must take into consideration the durability of structure or building along with the long-term waste generation as well as needs for energy consumption. Renewable energy resources can include smart appliances and HVAC systems, solar panels and strategic window placements for maximizing the utilization of natural light.
4. Use of reusable technology
There are several options for green buildings or structures that can help decrease the negative impact on the impact. For instance, inflatable water dams can be used that can be advantageous in combating erosion, preventing sedimentation and water runoff. The use of traditional dewatering solutions and sandbags are time-consuming and costly. Therefore, inflatable water dams can be applied which is reusable and require less space. Moreover, they are extremely easy to install as well as environmentally friendly.
Besides these solutions, there is a need for the construction activities to be subjected to the environmental impact examination for determining the possible impacts and also for bringing up with the mitigation measures before the implementation.
The report emphasized the impact of large scale engineering practices on the environment across the world. The study sought the major reasons contributing to the negative effect of the construction activities on the surrounding along with finding different ways to minimize those hazardous impacts on the environment.
The interactions of our built environment with the natural environment are quite complex and have a huge impact on the surroundings. Therefore, sustainability which is an intricate concept encompasses not only energy but every resource that is required to support human activity. A major portion of building sustainably has been related to addressing the issue of global warming that has been driving the change in the climate, utilizing the energy conservation and techniques like a life-cycle evaluation in order to maintain a balance between long-term asset value and capital cost.
Moreover, there is a need for the government of the nations to intervene concerning the utilization of environmentally friendly sustainable construction designs and strategies to become custom in those nations.
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Othman, E., & Ahmed, A. (2013). Challenges of mega construction projects in developing countries. Organization, technology & management in construction: an international journal, 5(1), 730-746.
Udawatta, N., Zuo, J., Chiveralls, K., & Zillante, G. (2015). Improving waste management in construction projects: An Australian study. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 101, 73-83.
Zhang, X., Wu, Y., Shen, L., & Skitmore, M. (2014). A prototype system dynamic model for assessing the sustainability of construction projects. International Journal of Project Management, 32(1), 66-76.
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