Engineering Tools for Environmental Risk Management: 1. Environmental Deterioration and Contaminatio
Industrial, agricultural, residential land uses and the connected discharge of chemical substances cause environmental problems world-wide: contaminated air, water and soil, dead rivers, polluted sites, abandoned areas, derelict land, degraded soil, and endangered ecosystem and humans.
This volume provides an overview on the behavior and function of the healthy environment, the capacity of the ecosystem to serve humanity and compensate for adverse changes. The prime contributors to these changes such as production and use of chemical substances, abandoned and contaminated land, chemical agriculture, mining and the complex waste problem are introduced.
Medication for environmental health problems is environmental risk management, which has two compartments: risk assessment and risk reduction. The target is an acceptable risk level. Environmental risk management can be structured horizontally and vertically. The horizontal structure of the management includes environmental compartments such as air, surface water, groundwater, soil and sediments; contaminating chemical substances or wastes as well as the land uses and the exposed receptors. The vertical structure includes the management tools, the environmental assessment and monitoring tools; preventive, protective and remedial technologies; evaluation and interpretation and decision making. The horizontal and vertical structures result in several combinations, most of which are reviewed in the book.
Knowledge is the basis of decision making. Good management practice should be based on high-quality information. Information comes from proper data evaluation and interpretation. Data collection, structuring and selection and their conversion to information provide an information system which is vital for the management of environment.
The sustainable future requires from us to adopt a humble attitude toward nature by integrating ethics with scientific and engineering knowledge. Otherwise humans will put themselves in jeopardy by inflicting damage to the environment.
In addition to the right attitude, efficient and innovative engineering tools are necessary for the long-term management of the environment. Even current best management practices are insufficient to achieve the goals of holistic environmental protection and land use — we need innovative technologies, integrated evaluation and a holistic approach.
The focus of this book is environmental knowledge and its conscious and structured application in environmental management and decision making.