An Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a study conducted for the purpose of determining the impact of proposed activities on the environment. It is an Environmental management tool, which can be used to determine the impacts of a project or operation on the Environment, SPDC Environment Newsletter 1994. EIA is a process or study which assesses the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects. It is a mechanism for ensuring optimal use of nature resource for sustainable development. Many nations require EIA from people in construction projects and similar activities. In Nigeria, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) which is an apex organization for the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources makes EIA Mandatory in all sectors of the Economy, specifically developmental project. These requirements are especially detailed in areas of fragile natural environments which could be damaged by the projects which did not take the environment into account.
When an EIA study is conducted, researchers consider the proposed activity, evaluate the environment where the activity will take place, and think about the positive and negative effects of the activity. For example, if a company plans to develop or built it facility any given fragile ecosystem, the Environmental Impact Assessment would properly indicate that the net change to the environment would be positive. Conversely, a company which wanted to build a mall might end up with a negative impact on the environmental impact assessment because the researchers could determine that the facility would have a negative impact on the environment.
This process includes concerns about the natural impacts of a project along with the economy and social ones. Something which generates a net positive natural change might not always be beneficial economically and socially, for instance, and conversely, researchers might determine that although a project could be harmful for the environment, it will have economic and social benefits which could outweigh the damage.
The goal of mandating such assessments is to protect the environment so that everyone can enjoy it and to consider the lives of organisms which rely on the natural environment for survival. EIA will gather a wide range of environmental and social information, identifying potential impact and provide options on how they could be managed.
The written result of EIA might be known as Environmental impact statements or Environmental impact report, Commonly EIS or EIR. However, numerous firms like De-Mbarukas limited specialize in conducting EIAs and preparing written reports which discuss the results in detail.