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Environmental Assessment Inspection Services

Environmental Assessment Inspection Services

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degradation products, which are also very mobile andpersistent.Monitoring studies show that alachlor levels in surface water resultin effects on aquatic plants and indirectly on aquatic animals (EPA, 1998). Detailedbaseline environmental assessment and impactstudies conducted prior to the undertaking of any potential FeMn crust or nodule mining will help resource managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders understand likely system response. Keyscientific questions include characterization of the biodiversity, degree of endemism, and ecosystem resilience on seamounts permissive for FeMn crust mining, as well asassessing the capacity for seamount habitats to recover after disturbance.Beyond physical perturbation from removal of FeMn crusts, fragments and crushedparticles of crusts added to the water column during extraction have thepotential to sorb micronutrients, making them unavailable to biota, whereas crustparticles that encounter an intense oxygen minimum zone could release metals to seawater. For nodules, an additional environmental concern is the disturbanceof sediments along the mining path and the associated sediment plume, both of which may cause release of toxic metalsto bottom waters and impact benthic habitats of sediment hosted and sessilenodule hosted biota. Mining companies have developed extraction equipment topartly mitigate these problems, as well as planned for unmined corridors withinthe ore field to allow migration of larvae and repopulation of impactedspecies. Another strategy is to mine down current from reference sites withequivalent ecosystems so that larvae would be naturally transported to themined area. However, the substrate for sessile biota is the nodules themselves,and the ecosystem will be compromised unless another hard substrate isdeposited in the mined area. Predictive modeling approaches to the environmentalassessment of running waters are particularly appropriate where the focusof monitoring is on overall ecosystem health, not just water quality. Animportant reason for this is that they combine information on a variety ofenvironmental variables and the associated macroinvertebrate or fish assemblages.

A range of sites are sampled in reference or leastimpacted condition for their biological communities. A model is constructedpredicting the probability of occurrence of taxa at those sites based onmeasurements of a suite of environmental variables that are not affected byhuman activity. A test site is then assessed by evaluating how many of thecollected taxa at a site are predicted to be present if there is no anthropogenicdisturbance and is expressed as an observed/expected ratio. Globally, this isprobably the most widely adopted approach for assessing the structuralcomponent of ecosystem health, although to the best of our knowledge it hasonly been applied to running water and not still water habitats. Many factorsgo into an environmental assessment, which must adhere to criteria todetermine the best approach for addressing a pollution problem.Overallprotection of human health and environment, Compliance with applicable orrelevant and appropriate requirements, Long-term effectiveness and permanence, Reductionof toxicity, mobility, or volume through treatment, Short-term effectiveness, Easeof implementation, Cost, State acceptance, Community acceptance.

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