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Health Ministry to crackdown on factories for environmental hazard

By Samuel Ben Turay

Acting Chief Environmental Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has said the ministry would soon close down factories that cause environmental hazard in the country.

Dr. Ansumana Sillah said that companies operating in the country should ensure they protect the environment as the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with its partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would be assessing all factories and that anyone found in default of environmental breach would be dealt with accordingly.

Dr. Sillah said the environment should be protected at all times in order to avert or miminise the risk of national disasters.

An environmental impact assessment is a formal process used to predict the environmental consequences (positive or negative) of a plan, policy, programme or project prior to implementation, he said, adding that it proposes measures to adjust impacts to acceptable levels or to investigate new technological solutions.

Although an assessment may lead to difficult economic decisions and political and social concerns, environmental impact assessments protect the environment by providing a sound basis for effective and sustainable development.

The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision-makers consider the environmental impacts when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project.
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The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines an environmental impact assessment as “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made”.

EIAs are unique in that they do not require adherence to a predetermined environmental outcome, but rather they require decision makers to account for environmental values in their decisions and to justify those decisions in light of detailed environmental studies and public comments on the potential environmental impacts.

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