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Environmental Impact Assessment

What is an EIA?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a study best carried out at the planning stage of a project to identify and assess the effects a project may have on our environment and well being, both positive and negative. Measures are proposed to lessen the negative effects and enhance the positive. The study will also outline a plan for monitoring these effects, and the effectiveness of the mitigation measures put in place, and identify people and institutions who will carry out these functions.

Why is an EIA needed?

EIAs are done in order to ensure that projects are carried out in a manner that does not threaten our environment and the people in it. Once the effects on the environment are identified, developers can properly plan and manage their operations and lessen their effects on the environment. The EIA process in Guyana also allows the public to present their views on the implementation of a project for consideration.

Who requires an EIA?

Any project that the EPA considers will have a significant impact on the environment will require an EIA. Examples of projects that may have significant impacts are listed in the Environmental Protection Act and include projects such as construction of airfields, hydro-electric installations etc. The EPA has also developed a list of additional projects that may require an EIA, such as chemical processing plants, resorts, etc. – this list may be obtained at the EPA’s office.

Who conducts the EIA?

The EIA is done by a team of independent consultants selected by the developer and approved by the EPA. Each consultant must have knowledge and experience relating to at least one relevant area of the project, and together, the team must be able to comprehensively assess the impacts of the project on all areas of the environment, including the human population.