Essay, 4 pages (900 words)


GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES OF CONCERN TO THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY With the continuously progressing development in the world, environmental issuesare gaining more and more attention of the world. Increasing industrialization has introduced many such problems, which were not faced by our planet before. These include global warming, deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain etc. Construction work is a must for the developing nations of the world. But this construction plays a role in increasing the pollution. If proper disposal of the construction waste is not done, it can slowly lead to hazardous effects.
According to a calculation, in Seattle for example, the construction and demolition waste accounts for about 40% of all the municipal waste. But much of this waste can be recycled and brought to be used again. (1)
Construction work can affect the environment in a number of ways. Site excavation, clearance, construction and renovation activities, toxic chemicals, wastes including bricks, cement, concrete, plaster, insulation, metal, wood and wood products; these all play a part in causing damage to the environment in one or the other way. According to an estimate, these wastes comprise of about 15 to 30% of all the wastes disposed of in landfills. Although many governments have passed the laws to restrict the disposal of toxic construction products into the lands, and to recycle the materials used.
Construction industry is now facing big challenges in order to precede their work in an environment friendly manner. Till now, deforestation in the form of ruthless cuttings of the forest trees and the clearance of vast grass lands, has led to increase the global warming effect. We all know that the trees act as the lungs of the earth. Deforestation leads to a loss of wild habitat and the native plant life. The use of heavy machinery leads to the erosion and sedimentation of the ground. Different chemicals lead to the contamination of soil, the surfaces and the ground water. (2)
There is a variety of different sorts of materials used for the construction purposes including, cement, wood, bricks, paints, ceramic, marble, steel, concrete etc. Most of the environmental hazards due to the construction industry occur as a result of the improper disposal of the waste materials produced as a result of construction work. These wastes lead to the contamination of the soil as well as water in which they are disposed. Starting from the step of clearing a land for a construction purpose, a chain of harmful events begins. Deforestation and clearing of the land leads to the damage to the natural habitat living there, both the animals and plants. Many species of animals have now become endangered due to the continuous loss of their natural habitats, and thus reducing their chances of survival.
Deforestation also leads to a warming up of the globe. Different gases and pollutants produced as a result of industrialization and automobiles need the trees to properly clear them. In the absence of tree, these gases continue to accumulate in our atmosphere, and thus leading to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Deposition of different chemicals in the environment has led to such problems like acid rains and smog (smoke and fog). The harmful smoke from the industries, have already led to the damage to the ozone layer.
Many countries have now passed the rules to control such harmful effects resulting from the industrialization and construction works. Stress is being made on using such material which can be recycled to be used again, instead of going as a waste material. Such material is encouraged which uses minimal amount of the package material. There is need for the proper storage of the construction material so as to reduce the amount of waste produces as a result of the damage or exposure to the elements.(2)
Another view is to use such material for construction purposes, that does not need to be replaced so often, so that there is less amount of the construction waste generated overtime.
To reduce the spoilage of the unused material, only the required amount of the toxic materials be purchased, as for examples the paints.
Transportation of the construction materials to far off countries also leads to the generation of pollution. This can be reduced by encouraging the production of the construction materials in the same environment where the construction is going to take place, if possible.
Using the recyclable material is also greatly encouraged. This reduces the amount of the waste production to minimal. The construction material left over at the end of a particular project, should be reused in some other construction project, rather than being disposed of.
Even such material as cabinets, doors, windows, plumbing and lighting fixtures should be tried to be used in some other construction project.
If any land is cleared for the purpose of construction, the cut down trees should be sold, or used for some other purpose. (2)
It is still not very difficult to control the environmental hazards produced by the construction work. By following the rules made by governments in an effort to control the pollution, and by proper planning well before the commencement of construction, we can reduce the environmental hazards to our planet.
1. Construction Waste; Resource Venture [online] 2008 [cited 2008, October 24]. Available from: http://www. resourceventure. org/green-your-business/green-building/construction-waste-management/construction-waste-management
2. Pollution prevention/Environmental impact reduction checklist for building/housing construction; Health Goods. [online] 2008 [cited 2008 October 24]. Available from: http://www. healthgoods. com/Education/Healthy_Home_Information/Building_Design_and_Construction/pollution_prevention. htm

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