Environmental impact


The environmental impact is the process of disintegration suffered by the earth or the deterioration of the environment due to the consumption of assets , for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterized by any change or aggravation in the green mantle of nature that is considered harmful or undesirable . The effect of ecological degradation has originated due to the consolidation of a human population that is constantly growingand that it is substantially solid, constantly expanding in search of monetary development or per capita fortune and the application of technologies that deplete and pollute assets.


What is the environmental impact?

It is the result of an action by the human being on the environment that produces an alteration in the environment and its surroundings due to anthropic action or natural events .


It occurs when the earth’s natural resources are depleted and the environment is compromised in the form of species extinction , air, water, and soil pollution , and rapid population growth .

  • What is the environmental impact?
  • features
  • Types
  • Classification of environmental impact
  • Factors
  • Environmental impact study
  • Evaluation
  • Statement
  • Manifestation
  • Causes
  • Consequences and effects
  • How to minimize environmental impact
  • Example

What is the environmental impact?

It consists of an immediate or medium or long- term effect produced by human activities in the environment. Some catastrophic natural events are also included in the list of aspects that produce an environmental impact such as hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanic as they radically disturb the ecological baseline .


The main characteristics of the environmental impact are the following:

  • It is measured in negative terms when it affects the life or ecological balance of a place or in positive terms when it helps to restore balance.
  • It can be local , regional or strategic .
  • It is a global process of change that disturbs the environment in undesirable ways.
  • The human activity worsens increasingly environmental impact.
  • The reduction in vegetation cover increases the risk of avalanches, and together with erosion it is also a key factor for landslides which affect the environment.


We can speak of different types of impact, according to their effect on the environment, such as:

  • Direct or indirect : The direct causes immediate and noticeable changes in the short term and the indirect affects it collaterally, without being noticed at first sight.
  • Temporary or permanent : It is in which time can be reversed , and the permanent is forever .
  • Reversible or irreversible . Reversible environmental impacts can be undone by nature itself over time, or through human intervention; while the irreversible effects have no qualms .
  • Cumulative or synergistic : The cumulative ones add up over time , and their effect gets worse as they accumulate; synergists generate the same effect much greater than if they were not all occurring at the same time.
  • Current or potential : the current is the one that occurs immediately , and the potential is the one that could occur in the future , if it is not prevented.
  • Local or disseminated : it depends on whether the effect occurs in a small local region , or if it flows to other ecosystems and spreads that it would be disseminated.

Classification of environmental impact

For its analysis and study, the environmental impact is classified as follows:

  • Irreversible : Its significance in the middle is so great that it is impossible to revert it to its original baseline.
  • Temporary : Its magnitude does not generate major consequences and allows the environment to recover in the short term.
  • Reversible : The medium recovers over time although it does not necessarily return to the original baseline.
  • Persistent : all actions made to the environment in the long term, and extensible over time.


There are several factors that affect the environmental impact such as acidification of the air that generates sulfur oxide, nitrous oxide and other acidic emissions to the air, carbon footprint or carbon dioxide and other gases that result from the burning of fossil fuels accumulate in the atmosphere and by increasing the average temperature of the earth, the total amount of energy consumed and the eutrophication of water or the excessive amount of nutrients to an aquatic ecosystem , eutrophication occurs.

Environmental impact study

The environmental impact study is an instrument that is responsible for describing the characteristics of a project that you want to do or modify. Background This study should give grounds for the prediction , identification , and interpretation of the impact and to describe the different actions that will be implemented to prevent or minimize their effects significantly adverse .

Its main objective is to control and analyze which transformations alter the environment, causing harm to people , flora and fauna that exist in a place. They can take place in urbanized spaces, in seas, forests or rivers.


It is the set of studies , technical reports and consultations that allow calculating the consequences that a certain project, installation or activity may have on the environment . It is an analysis by means of which an objective judgment can be formed from which a project can be approved or rejected .


Is a document which included the results of a specific assessment of impact environmental and allegations. It is a mandatory document in many places to be able to build infrastructures, such as roads. It is usually prepared by the Ministry of the Environment .


The environmental impact statement is a document by means of which, based on different studies , the significant and potential environmental impact that could be generated by a work or a certain activity is made known, as well as the way to avoid or reduce it.


The possible causes that produce the environmental impact are the following:

  • Exploitation of natural resources : for example mining , logging , trawling or indiscriminate hunting that deplete the environment to obtain raw materials.
  • Waste disposal : waste that is dumped into the sea or dissipated into the atmosphere , and that significantly alter the chemical balance of nature.
  • Wars : Destruction during warlike conflicts , such as bombings, use of chemical weapons and abandonment of war material have environmental repercussions as well.
  • Radioactive material : for experiments with nuclear energy for peaceful or military purposes (atomic bombs). The radioactive waste is one of the most damaging the ecosystem known.
  • Urban expansion : cities grow and consume or alter the surface that was previously a refuge for animal and plant species forever.

Consequences and effects

There are many consequences that the negative environmental impact on nature, animals and man can bring, among them we mention:

  • The disappearance of many marine species and marine ecosystems due to industrial waste.
  • The development of diseases in humans such as cholera or hepatitis.
  • Harmful and toxic effects on the growth of the species as it weakens their immune system.
  • Poisoning from drinking contaminated water.
  • Filtration of polluting substances through groundwater.
  • The accumulation of gases in the air causes the greenhouse effect , acid rain , the depletion of the ozone layer , the overheating of the Earth.

How to minimize environmental impact

The environmental impact can be minimized as follows:

  • Turn off lights , television , computers , water heater when not in use.
  • Close the refrigerator door when it is not occupied.
  • Use bags that are not plastic when I go to the supermarket.
  • Lead
  • Replace incandescent lights with fluorescent ones .
  • Recycle and reuse .
  • Use energy efficiently .
  • Applies techniques to reduce pollution at source.


Some examples of the environmental impact are:

  • An example is the expansion of a highway , which would allow the transport of merchandise but whose construction implies the cutting down of a forest and the irruption of the forest with polluting vehicles affecting the species that inhabited that ecosystem.

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