What Needs An Environmental Impact Assessment

Although it is unlikely that too many people will be contemplating building a nuclear reactor or a massive power generation plant, there are several other activities that are often carried out that need an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted before they can begin.

All activities that need an EIA are listed in the Environment Conservation Act of 1989 (Act 73 of 1989). Many of the regulations deal with the building or upgrading of different kinds of structures, but others deal with changing land uses and other issues. Some of the activities that require an EIA

  • Changing grazing land to any other form of agriculture
  • Changing land zoned for agriculture or a similar zoning to any other land use
  • Cultivating or using virgin ground for any other reason. Virgin ground is defined as land that has not been cultivated in the last ten years
  • Changing land that is used as an open space or for nature conservation to any other land use
  • Creating a facility that concentrates livestock, aquatic organisms, poultry or game for commercial purposes, such as a wild animal breeding facility or a trout farm
  • Farming or importing any plant or animal that has been declared a weed or alien invasive
  • Releasing organisms outside of areas where they naturally occur for purposes of controlling pests biologically
  • Genetically modifying any organism in any way that fundamentally changes it
  • Reclaiming land, including wetlands, that are below the high water mark of the sea and in inland waters
  • Building or upgrading roads, railways or airfields. In the case of roads, this includes national roads, toll roads, provincial roads, municipal roads, as well as roads in conservation areas and open spaces and in sensitive areas
  • Disposing of commercial waste and establishing, expanding, upgrading or closing of facilities for all waste, ashes and building rubble
  • Building or upgrading a public or private resort and its associated infrastructure
  • Creating any kind of facilities for any substance that is dangerous, hazardous or controlled by law
  • Putting up any kind of communication network for commercial purposes, such as masts and satellite dishes
  • Building outdoor racetracks for cars, quad bikes, motorcycles and any other motor vehicles
  • Building or upgrading any kind of canal or channel for conveying water, including structures in a riverbed, as well as building or upgrading any kind of structure, such as a pipeline between a water catchment and a structure like a dam Constructing or upgrading any kind of structure that affects the flow ofa river, such as a dam, weir or levee
  • Building or upgrading reservoirs for public water supply or making any kind of bulk water supply scheme
  • Constructing or upgrading sewage facilities
  • Building anything to do with explosives and ammunition
  • Carrying out an process that is listed in the atmospheric pollution prevention act
  • Building an above ground cable way
  • Building or upgrading a marina or a harbour either inland or in coastal waters. The EIA must be conducted by a qualified person, and then submitted to the department of environmental affairs, usually the regional office of provincial government, who check out the EIA before sending it higher up for approval. The manner in which the EIA is carried out and how interested and affected parties are identified and notified is also laid out in the relevant act
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