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The Environment and Pollution Threats

We the people of the Algarve are concerned that the government will overlook many risks to our environment, and to us the people residing here and allow the exploration drilling for gas in the Algarve basin to take place without proper consultation with local stakeholders.

Having read many of the comments made both by goverment leaders, Partex and Gulbenkian Foundation executives we are seriously concerned about their view point that gas exploration poses no risks to the environment, nor to the socio-economic sustainability of the Algarve region. We are also seriously concerned about the fact that the goverment representatives have stated officially in writing that an EIA for exploration purposes is not required under Portuguese law.

 As a result we feel that there is a need to look at the Environment within an EIA Context

The Environment within an EIA context mainly focuses, but is not limited to physical, chemical, biological, geological, social, economical, and aesthetic dimensions along with their complex interactions, which affects individuals, communities and ultimately determines their forms, character, relationship, and survival.

In EIA context, ‘effect’ and ‘impact’ can often be used interchangeably. However, ‘impact’ is considered as a value judgment
of the significance of an effect.

Sustainable development is built on three basic premises i.e., economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. We believe that economic growth achieved in a way that does not consider, the environmental concerns, will not be sustainable in the long run. Therefore, sustainable development needs careful integration of environmental, economic, and social needs in order to achieve both an increased standard of living in short term, and a net gain or equilibrium among human, natural, and economic resources to support future generations in the long term.

“It is necessary to understand the links between environment and development in order to make choices for development that will be economically efficient, socially equitable and responsible, as well as environmentally sound.”

Recommended Pollution Control Strategy

Pollution control strategies can be broadly categorized into preventive and reactive. The reactive strategy refers to the steps that may be applied once the wastes are generated or contamination of the receiving environment takes place. The control technology or a combination of technologies to minimize the impact due to the process rejects/wastes varies with quantity and characteristics, desired control efficiency and economics.

Many combinations of techniques could be adopted for treatment of a specific waste or the contaminated receiving environment, but are often judged based on techno-economic feasibility. Therefore, the best alternative is to take all possible steps to avoid pollution itself. This preventive approach refers to a hierarchy that involves:

  1. prevention & reduction;
  2. recycling and re-use;
  3. treatment; and 
  4. disposal, respectively.

Therefore, there is a need to shift the emphasis from the reactive to preventive strategy i.e., to promote preventive environmental anagement. Preventive environmental management tools may be grouped into management based tools, process based tools and product based tools.



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