Environmental monitoring is composed of tools and techniques that identify, analyze, and establish parameters for environmental conditions to quantifiably assess the impacts from various activities on the environment. It is based on different test and assessment techniques which provide key information about the environment and possible risk levels.
Companies and organizations must show that they have implemented set actions and control systems to monitor their environmental impact on the local environment. The goal is to understand and reduce impacts, comply with environmental regulations, and conserve environmental and human health.
When preparing an environmental impact assessment (ESA), which evaluates the negative impacts and effects of a future project on the surrounding environment, companies must use advanced environmental monitoring technology. Environmental monitoring is thus essential to begin business operations and it can be done in real-time or using sampling methods. As the world digitalizes, the trend is to use real-time monitoring systems and advanced AI algorithms to allow simple and quick assessment with key environmental indicators that allow accurate decision-making. Indicators can include pollutants in the air, turbidity in water, noise levels, etc.
“Environmental monitoring is more important now than ever before.”
The main inputs and contributions are:
As the world consumes more energy each year, environmental monitoring systems are a turning point to reduce environmental impact, save the planet, protect public exposure to pollutants, and cut costs. In his article, Sinay identifies four types of environmental monitoring.
- Environmental Monitoring of Air
As air quality is essential to human health and national air quality government regulations must be followed by businesses and organizations. Air quality can be monitored in real-time by connecting software to sensors located in an area of choice. These sensors then measure levels and report main pollutants in the air; for instance, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone. Air quality can also be measured manually with stations that collect air particles for a period of time before being measured.
- Environmental Monitoring of Water
Water must be clean, drinkable, safe, and sanitary and bodies of water must also be clean so that marine life and biodiversity can thrive. Water can be measured in real-time by connecting software to sensors located in bodies of water. These sensors then can communicate when thresholds are reached; for example, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, bioindicators, nitrates, pH, chemical contamination, and water temperature.
- Environmental Monitoring of Noise
In the sea, if there is too much noise pollution cetaceans cannot communicate which puts them in danger. On land, noise can disrupt wildlife’s natural habitats and the quality of life for humans. Noise monitoring in the sea protects sea life and on land protects communities close to industrial sites, such as ports and airports. To measure sound in the sea and on land, software connects to sensors that report real-time noise levels. Noise level thresholds are set and determined beforehand so organizations know how much noise can be made.
- Environmental Monitoring of Biodiversity
Climate change continues to reduce plant and animal biodiversity. Biomonitoring shows directly how our activities are impacting the environment due to biodiversity reactions. Diverse types of animal and plant species are monitored for a period of time to develop an analysis of how activities may be affecting them.
In summary, clean air and water, noise pollution reduction, and biomonitoring are essential to life on earth. With many government regulations already in place and more passing each year, company management must monitor their long- and short-term environmental impact to stay in business and start new projects.
“Environmental monitoring helps to understand and study the complexity of the environment in relation to polluting events like industrial activity.”