Environmental Impact Assessment for a Solid Waste Disposal Landfill

INTRODUCTION

The development of sanitary landfills is becoming key in developing countries as a waste management and resource recovery technique. The development of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for a new waste disposal facility (landfill) is therefore critical. The proposed landfill development includes but is not limited to the following infrastructure:

i. Fencing of the area

ii. Cell construction

iii. Construction of offices, storage, security, and ablution facilities

iv. Site monitoring system

v. Leachate management

vi. Weigh bridge

vii. Evaporation ponds

viii. Road construction within the fenced area

ix. Incinerator

x. Road construction from residential area to disposal site

In order to achieve authorization for the particular land to become a waste disposal facility, an assessment of the proposed development was carried out.

The Waste and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 6 of 2007 regulates the disposal of effluent and solid waste. It prohibits any person from disposing of waste into a public stream or groundwater without a license. Furthermore, every generator of waste (except households) is now required to come up with a waste management plan by 31 December of each year which deals with quantity and components of the waste, goals for reduction of the quantity and pollutant discharges of the waste, transportation and disposal of the waste, and adoption of environmentally sound management of the wastes. It is an offense for any waste generator to fail to produce a waste management plan.

The proposed landfill is an identified activity in terms of the Environmental Management Act (Waste and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 6 of 2007 deals with regulation of the EIA process and protection of ecosystems). Part 11 of the Act provides that no industrial project shall be implemented unless an EIA has been completed (First Schedule):

“The construction of facilities or infrastructure, including associated structures or infrastructure, for

(1) The construction of a ‘BLUE Class’ landfill” requires a full EIA, since the proposed development would finally result in a significant change in land use from open field (veld) land to industrial use.

According to EMA regulations these activities may not commence without environmental impact assessment and authorization from EMA and Director-General in respect of which the investigation, assessment, and statement of potential impact of activities must follow the procedure as described in Environmental Management Act (Waste and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 6 of 2007) which deals with regulation of the EIA process and protection of ecosystems.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Terms of Reference (TOR) as approved by the Zimbabwe EMA is described below. The proposed development includes:

i. Determine the typical composition and character of the general solid waste

ii. Develop screening criteria for site selection of waste landfill and its associated facilities including composting area, incineration facility, and material recovery area

iii. Conduct stakeholder consultations including public, civil society, and government on site selection

iv. Use the screening criteria to develop exclusionary zones for the general waste landfill

v. Use the screening criteria, maps, interviews, field visits and propose alternatives sites for the general landfill

vi. Conduct a public and government participation process to reach consensus on one site which will be studied further for the siting of the landfill

vii. Verify suitability of the screened sites, based on available data, as well as field investigations of geologic, geophysical, hydrogeological, soils, meteo-rological/atmospheric, and topographic conditions

viii. Verify that the available sites have at least 20 years of capacity and that the area can access roads and can accommodate projected traffic related to operations

ix. Produce a general solid waste landfill design acceptable to EMA and other relevant stakeholders

x. Produce a bill of quantities consistent with the produced general waste landfill design

xi. Conduct environmental and social impact assessments for the general waste landfill

SCOPE OF WORK

Following the completion of the specialist investigations, this EIA report was written to present the findings and recommendations according to the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27 of 2003. The scope of work included: closure plan of the existing dumpsite, generation of a recycling plan, construction of a new landfill site, and closure plan of the proposed new landfill.

In order to provide scientifically sound information with regard to the potential negative impacts identified, eight specialist studies must be undertaken. An integrated approach was adopted to consider the direct, secondary, and cumulative impacts wherever possible. Each specialist assessed the potential impacts from their specific area of expertise. Subsequently, the findings were integrated and assessed to provide a broad, all-inclusive understanding of the impacts of this project.

LEGISLATION AND GUIDELINES

The environmental impact assessment was carried out in line with EMA regulations, specifically the Waste and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 6 of 2007.

The aforementioned also specifies and identifies the types of activities which require an EIA process before construction (EMA, Chapter 20:27).

Statutory Instrument 87 of the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] 2006, Schedule One, stipulates a number of listed activities that could potentially have some detrimental effects on the environment. This information will also be taken into consideration.

In accordance with legislation, the minimum requirements for landfill construction specify that an EIA must be carried out as part of the landfill permitting process.

These activities are subject to Environmental Impact Assessment as specified and regulated by EMA. In addition to the Environmental Management Act (Statutory Instrument 6 of 2007, Statutory Instrument 10 of 2007, and Statutory Instrument 12 of 2007), Environmental Conservation Act, and the EIA regulations, the following laws and regulations have been considered in the assessment process:

Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Act No. 108

Rights of owners and rights of neighbors in respect of environmental quality and health. From this perspective, the mandated municipality is obligated to uphold the public right by ensuring that the environment is kept clean by providing adequate waste management service.

National Museums and Monuments Act

Protection and management of heritage resources - The landfill site is located about 2 km from a cemetery; protection from negative impact must be ensured. Furthermore, during construction, if anything of cultural or national value is unearthed, the finding must be reported in time and right action taken by the responsible authority.

National Health Act

During construction, operation, and decommissioning activities, the workers, environment, and public should not be at risk in any way. A healthy environment should be ensured by implementation of appropriate environmental health practices commensurate with the aspect.

Forestry Act CAP 19:05

The conservation of natural vegetation and indigenous species should be upheld throughout the project cycle. Any mutation of the vegetation, probably manifesting through the phenotype should be scrutinized and appropriate action taken to ensure no future complications.

The Control of Goods Act (Chapter 14:05)

Any type of goods which have the potential to cause positive or negative impact should be evaluated and proper recommendations ensured. This prevents pollution by importation activities.

Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29/12)

The town has ensured that all its planning is aligned and there are no future circumstances where non-related infrastructures are found in proximity to each other. The town plans were consulted and appropriate legal procedures followed to ensure that the structure would be on a legally provided land and in compliance with the Act.

Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] 2006

All specific actions and compliance are to be upheld to ensure public and environmental protection. Specific statutory instruments are to be observed throughout the project cycle.

Environmental Management Act (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection)

The appropriate procedures were taken from project feasibility to construction in line with EMA requirements. The standards will be upheld throughout the project cycle.

National Biotechnology Authority Act (Act 3, 2006)

The Act should be upheld by the appropriate authority. Periodic tests should be conducted throughout the project cycle to avoid waste management related harm.

Parks and Wildlife Act (CH 20:14)

The area in the vicinity of the site has no park. If any such development were to commence in the interim, inter-relationship should be scrutinized to ensure no negative impacts on the park area.

Protection of Wild Life (Indemnity) Act (CH 20:15)

The area is blessed with a wide diversity of animals. Baboons have invaded the area and are often found feeding at the dumpsite. This leads not only to disease contamination of livestock, who feed in the area and could potentially infect humans, but also to overpopulation of the baboon. Although the baboons in this respect have become a menace, they deserve protection as do domestic animals. Fencing and humane population control are options for reducing this problem.

Tourism Act (Ch 14:20)

Tourist attraction centers should not be affected by the development. It is important to ensure that no negative impact is exerted on potential tourist attraction centers.

Water Act (Ch 20:24)

Water is a scarce resource. Wherever a project is pursued, water should be used sustainably and protected at all costs. During operation, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent surface and groundwater pollution. After the EIA process is completed in terms of Section 99, the Director General will issue a certificate in terms of Section 100. The permit application (EIA report) will be submitted to EMA. After completing the EIA and authorization by Director-General in terms of Section (1) of EMA (20:27), the site will be registered under the Environmental Management Act.

 
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