Energy requirement of the world is huge, so is the destruction that comes with the over consumption. The need of the present is to meet the need of the people while posing the least possible threat to the environment too. As such, the Environment and Social Management Plan has come as an integral project and program component to keep in mind the environmental and social concerns during the implementation of any program. According to a report by IUCN, The main content of the ESMP is the list of measures that have been identified for avoiding adverse environmental and/or social impacts, for minimizing them to acceptable levels or to compensate for them. For each mitigation measure the following operational details need to be provided

  • Evidence of their technical feasibility, cultural adequacy, expected effectiveness (in providing mitigation to all affected groups) and sustainability
  • Resources required and estimated costs (including initial investment and recurring expenses), and, where applicable, expected and agreed contributions from stakeholders and beneficiaries (including in-kind contributions);
  • Responsibility for implementing the measure
  • Schedule for implementation along with the requirement that mitigation measures be implemented in a timely manner.(IUCN)

The purpose of the ESMP is to ensure that social and environmental impacts, risks and liabilities identified during the ESIA process are effectively managed during the construction, operation and closure of the proposed project. The ESMP specifies the mitigation and management measures to which the Proponent is committed and shows how the Project will mobilize organizational capacity and resources to implement these measures. The ESMP also shows how mitigation and management measures will be scheduled.

The steps involved in ESMP for grid interconnection are as follows:

  • Identification of potential hazards related with the project, as early as possible in the project cycle, including the site selection process, engineering planning process for capital requests, engineering work orders, product design process, facility modification authorizations, or layout and process change plans.
  • Inclusion of ESMP professionals who are expert on the identification and curbing of potential environmental and social hazards of the proposed project.

The environmental and social hazards of any place is usually identified based on the emission of pollutants, hazardous waste materials, the intensity of harm to the local environment and to the people which can be in the form of property loss, cultural loss to name a few. These hazards can usually be controlled by prioritizing risk management strategies, favoring strategies that eliminate the cause of the hazard at its source, for example, by selecting less hazardous materials or processes, When impact avoidance is not feasible, incorporating engineering and management controls to reduce or minimize the possibility and magnitude of undesired consequences, Preparing workers and nearby communities to respond to accidents, including providing technical and financial resources to effectively and safely control such events, and restoring workplace and community environments to a safe and healthy condition. (IFC)

Potential issues for consideration during different phases of project are as follows:

  • Pre constructional- Resettlement and compensation

-Socio-economic and local community impact

  • Construction Phase- Resettlement and Compensation
  • Socio-economic and local community impacts
  • Traffic and transport
  • Soils
  • Public and occupational health and safety
  • Noise
  • Air quality
  • Waste
  • Water quality and resources
  • Operation Phase- Socio-economic and local community impacts
  • Land use
  • Public and occupational health and safety
  • Landscape and visual impact
  • Decommissioning Phase – Traffic and transport
  • Air quality and noise
  • Public and occupational health and safety
  • Wastes

The main issues to be included in the environmental management and monitoring program may be as follows:

  1. Relevant environmental control standards involving a collation of the control limits against which results from the monitoring programs should be judged.
  2. A required program for the monitoring of releases to the environment at source and also for pollutant concentrations in the surrounding areas in terms of parameters to be monitored, sampling points and frequencies of measurements, as well as methods for sampling and analysis.
  • Protection of construction crew against hearing loss damage bu the use of earmuffs
  • Minimization of wind pick up of dust from exposed unprotected land sufaces by limiting land clearance to minimum area requirements for the constructional activities.
  • Ensuring exposed surfaces are sprayed with water by water browsers as part of regular construction activities.
  • Application of erosion control practices such as regrading, compaction and early re vegetation to promote soil conservation.
  • Transportation of heavy plant and equipment through settlement be done in manner that will not jeopardize the safety of the local people.
  • Equipment and materials to be properly secured when being transported to prevent them from falling and posing potential danger to people.
  • Legally mandated speed limits on the roads and highways to be strictly observed in all settlements.
  • In line with existing practice, the towers have to be clearly marked with a red inscription on white background – “DANGER – 225,000 Volts” to warn off trespassers and prevent them from exposing themselves to the potential dangers of electrocution.
  • Periodic community awareness training to be given to the workforce.
  • Construction workers to be closely supervised to ensure that only the minimum area requirements of access trucks, tower corridor track and tower base areas are cleared of begetation to minimize potential impacts on flora and fauna.
  • Avoidance of herbicides/weedicides for weed control or vegetation clearing so that potential pollution from this source be eliminated.
  • Ensure coordination with the road agency to minimize interference between installation and operation
  • Ensure that contractor do not establish work camps close to any water body to avoid water pollution problems.
  • Establish camp at least 500m from the closest settlement to minimize noise impacts on the community.
  • Provision of mobile toilet facilities at the work camp to avoid the pollution of the environment with human waste.
  • During maintenance of construction machinery/equipment and vehicles care to be taken to avoid accidental oil spills, which could lead to soil contamination.
  • Accidental spillage of oil, fuel and pants will be avoided as much as possible.
  • Any split materials to be quickly mopped up with rags and/or sawdust.
  • Waste oil to be drained into impermeable sumps at the work camp for collection and disposal.
  • Metal wastes to be collected and sold as scrap to dealers who will in turn sell them for recycling.
  • Other sold wastes such as damaged cables and conductors, rags, paper cartons and domestic wastes to be collected and disposed of at appropriate public waste dumping sites.
  • The solid wastes in the form of trees, tree stumps and wooden containers to be gathered together and made available to the local communities as fuel wood.
  • Waste management techniques to be implemented to help keep a clean site and reduce environmental pollution.
  • Emergency response plan to be prepared to manage effectively a wide range of incidents that may occur at the project site, which includes plans for fire, storm, chemical spills, road accident, and other emergency as identified which may affect the project.
  • Take reasonable measures to prevent contamination of water, air, or land as a result of any incident, to reduce such contamination if it is unavoidable and to remediate any contamination that has occurred during the works.
  • Plan and implement the projects under the EPA and EPR rules and regulations of the country.
  • Environmental monitoring to be done to determine the impacts whether t be physical, chemical or biological. (ESMP of Bolgatanga-Ouagadougou Interconnection Project)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s