Environment Pollution Caused By Construction Activities Environmental Sciences Essay
This chapter present the brief information and effects of the environmental issues happened in the Malaysian Construction Sites. This is a literature chapter review on the environmental pollution happened which caused by the construction activities in Malaysia. For example, air pollution, water pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, wastage problem, ground movements and etc.
2.2 Environment Pollution Caused by Construction Activities
According to Krishnan Ganesh (2005) describe that the pollution consists of any change of the environment in physical, chemical or biological characteristics which might be endanger the human life and other life being. Besides, pollution might occurred in increasing of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other green house gases conversely decreasing in stratospheric ozone on global scale enhanced the global environmental pollution to air, water and land resources, biological diversity and human health.
Based on Jennifer Gray (2010), the construction industry is a major source of pollution compound around 4% of particulate emissions, higher occurrences of water pollution incidents than any other industry and frequent complains of noise every year. However, the main areas of concern are including air, water, noise and soil pollution.
Meanwhile, Zhen et al (2006) stated the dirt, harmful gases, noises, blazing lights, solid and liquid wastes, ground movements, messy, fallen item, and etc that hazards from construction site are the sources of pollution. It would also interrupt the residents near the area furthermore influence their health quality and well-being of people in the whole city.
In short, construction industry at site has full of danger, difficult and dirty or even death syndrome which are to be encountered and control under certain rules & regulations. However, these rules & regulation of environmental protection can be imposed by the local statutory, government, and any other independent institutions.
2.2.1 Air Pollution
Nancy J. Sell (1945) notes the definition of air pollution is an addition to our atmosphere of any materials having a damaging effect on life and environment. Normally are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxides (NO), sulphur oxides (SO) and various hydrocarbons and particulates which are small particles consists of solids.
“The construction activities such as land clearing, operation of diesel engines, demolition, burning and working with toxic materials will contribute to air pollution. All construction activities produce high level of dust which can effects large distance over long time” (Jennifer Gray, 2010). In addition, Jennifer (2010) also stated that diesel is the most critical emissions of a lot of toxic gases. Air pollution occur when the noxious vapours and other hazardous chemicals that are widely used on construction sites.
“The human health will be affected same as to the animal by the various types of pollutants. Most of the time, animal death can be happened by air pollutant as long it goes into the animal food sources. Damage on plant might be visible or which affect the growth, productivity and life will possess of the plants will be damaged” (Nancy J. Sell, 1945).
At last, the air pollution is directly linked to the human and other wild life being. This is because the poisonous air particular will damaging the respiratory systems of every living organism. Other serious diseases will also happen due to the insufficient inhaled of clean air and excessive inhaled of hazard oxygen. Therefore, the air quality is required to be controlled on construction sites moreover off the sites.
2.2.2 Water Pollution
Diesel and oil, paint, solvents, cleaners and other harmful chemicals; and construction debris and dirt can be direct sources causing of water pollution. Soil erosion cause silt-bearing run-off and sediment pollution when the land is cleared. Silt and soil that run into natural waterways turn them turbid and restrict sunlight filtration and devastate aquatic life. In addition, other pollutants such as diesel and oil, toxic chemicals, and building materials from the site will be carried by the run-off of surface water. This happened to poison the water life when these substances get into waterways and any animal intake it. The source of human drinking water can be contaminated when the pollutants on construction sites soak into the groundwater which makes it much more difficult to purify than the surface water (Jennifer Gray, 2010).
Based on Chiew Mynn, Jason and Joanthan (1997) shown that an example which the construction of a new golf course near the waterfall at Fraser’s Hill, Pahang tourism attraction. The forest nearby has been cleared, no roots to hold on to the surrounding soil and erode when the rains come. Silt and sand that comes from the construction become extremely murky and dirty as the soils run into the waterfall. Consequently, the overwhelming of construction activities surround the waterfall has lost its attraction.
In short, water pollution can be affecting the health and safety of human and other wild life being gradually by intake the poisoned water sources which could not be purify completely. However, it might also cause massive damage to the building structures through the hidden running off of soil and water gradually under the foundation. Serious soil sedimentation and erosion will happen if excessive deforestation and development without proper plantation on the construction sites. Hence, the water pollution must be preventing effectively in order to provide safe and health living of building environmental.
2.2.3 Noise Pollution
Noise is an increasingly omnipresent, yet underestimated, form of pollution. Long periods of exposure to relatively low levels of noise can have adverse effects on human health, such as raised blood pressure, hypertension, disrupted sleep and cognitive development in children (Kiernan, 1997), diminished working memory span, and psychiatric disorders (Bond, 1996).
The vehicles, heavy equipment and machinery on construction sites create a lot of noise. Excessive noise is annoying and distracting, possible to cause loss in hearing, high blood pressure, sleep disturbance and extreme stress. Research has proven that high noise levels disturb the natural life cycles and usable habitat of animals (Jennifer Gray, 2010).
As Choong Mek Zhin (2010) notes in his articles, “Construction work going on at night in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya is causing many residents to lose sleep and suffer from stress due to the constant noise from the project sites. The construction works are proceeding although on public holidays.”
“There are various noise sources on the construction sites and which reveal various types of noise which need to be managed such as background noise, idling noise, blast noise, impact noise, rotating noise, intermittent noise, howling, screeches and squeals” (Lisa M. Sabitoni, 1996).
Therefore, heavy noise pollution can cause mental problem of the human. This could bring a wide linkage of damages to the residential area nearby the construction sites if the noise levels are not well managed.
Table below shows the noise construction activities schedule for noise limitation.
Table: Typical noisy construction activities against the permissible noise limits (Khairul Sani B Samsudin, 2007)
Type of Works
Very Noisy Works
e.g. piling, blasting, demolition, concreting works, use of percussion tools e.g. pneumatic hammers, etc
Moderately Noisy Works
e.g. erection/dismantling of formwork, tying/fixing of steel bars, operation of cranes, loading/unloading of construction materials, etc
e.g. housekeeping, bricklaying, plastering, painting, etc
2.2.4 Wastage Problem
“Waste produced by industrial operations has to be concerned as waste levels point out the appreciation of utilize of environment natural resources while the environmental issue is in concern globally. Construction industry has contributes a major waste to the overall waste volume among other industry operations annually for majority of the country. Most of the party involved in the operation do not alert of that construction waste can happen at every stage of the activities. During the stage on construction site, most of the resources are being used, therefore the major waste level are low which it can be observed for initial stage” (Teoh Su Ping et al, 2009).
As Ekanayake & Ofori (2000) said, “Construction waste can be divided into three major categories which are material, labour and machinery waste. However, material wastage is of more concern as more of the raw materials from which construction inputs are derived come from non-renewable resources.”
In short, waste management stands critical step to mitigate the pollution to the environment as the construction industry has contributes a major waste to the overall waste levels among the other industry operation. This is because every construction project is unique and heterogeneous which it undergoes with many various materials, methods, machinery under such long in durations. In addition, these construction wastes can cause an excessive amount of wastages which most of the inputs are produced from non-renewable resources such as timbers, steel bars, cement and sand, clay bricks, marble and gravel tiles and etc natural resources. Therefore, waste management must be operated in order to minimize the massive wastages problems and pollute the environment.
Construction industry is full of challenges among the other production industry. This is because any of the pollution such as air, water, noise, waste problems and etc can be happened in the construction sites if improper protection and prevention during every single stage of the construction. Therefore, these require lots of effort in managing the conditions of the construction sites under a long period of construction time. However, some certified Environmental Management System (EMS) with valuable process and procedure is useful in the protection of environmental quality. For example, international certified ISO 14001:2004 as an EMS.
Chapter 3 Concept and Principles of ISO 14001 as Environmental Management System (EMS)
This chapter is to present the concept and principles of the ISO 14001 as an EMS in Malaysian Construction Organizations. The important information including the introduction, concepts, benefits, methods, issues, challenges of processes and procedures in terms of implementing the ISO 14001 as an EMS.
3.2 Concept of ISO 14001
ISO 14001 was first published in 1996 and specified with actual requirement for an Environmental Management System (EMS). It applies to those environmental aspects which the organisation has control and over which it can be expected to have an influence. ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner stone standard of the ISO 14000 series. However, it is not only the most well known, but is the only ISO 14000 standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification authority. Having stated this, it does not itself state specific environmental performance criteria.
This standard is applicable to any organization that wishes to
Implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system
Assure itself of its conformance with its own stated environmental policy (those policy commitments of course must be made)
Ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations
Seek certification of its environmental management system by an external third party organization
Make a self-determination of conformance
(ISO 14000/ ISO 14001 Environmental Management Guide, 1996)
3.3 Implementation Process of EMS based on ISO 14001
According to Sarkis (1998), who has listed down the five important steps which showing the successful implementation process of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) based on ISO 14001. The five important steps are shown as below:
Environmental policy: Firms must capture in a written document their intentions and principles in relation to their environmental behaviour. This statement must show firms’ commitment to comply with environmental legislation, to prevent pollution and also to potentially improve their environmental performance. It also must be accessible for the public.
Planning: Firms have to identify controllable environmental aspects and determine which ones have significant environmental impacts. These are the ones that firms should attend first. Then firms have to determine the legal dimensions of these impacts (which will depend on the sector, the geographical situation…) and, based on this information, they have to establish objectives and targets as well as the EMS to achieve them.
Implementation and operation: it means the allocation of human, financial and physical resources for these issues. Managers have to assign the environmental responsibilities, provide the suitable training to employees and also establish the internal and external communication channels in order to spread the environmental commitment among all the members in the organization and the stakeholders.
Checking and corrective action: It includes the measurement of environmental performance, the identification of deviations by comparing targets and results and the application of corrective actions when necessary. In order to be able to carry out these activities, firms must keep environmental records and have periodical auditing of the EMSs.
Management review: In order to guarantee the effectiveness and continuous improvement of the EMSs, managers have to review and get a feedback of all the policies, objectives and procedures.
(Sarkis, J., 1998)
At first, the organisations must comply with the environmental policies to prevent the environmental issues furthermore to improve their environmental performance. Then, the planning on controllable environmental aspects and impacts must be made in order to set up objectives and targets to be achieved by the organisations. Subsequently, experienced personnel have to apply the environmental management systems and ensure the environmental commitment has reached to every member in the organization as well as the stakeholders. Consequently, checking and corrective action must be taken which consists of environmental performance measures, comparison on divergence findings and rectifies actions. It would also required scheduled environmental records and periodical auditing of the EMS. Lastly, the management review step enables the managers to reassess and collect feedback related to the effectiveness and necessary improvement required on the policies, objectives and procedures.
In short, a good EMS consists of not only the general five important steps of implementation processes but also required good integration of communication and coordination channels in between the executive personnel, managers, staffs, labours and other stakeholders. This could be the most critical point which might directly influence the effectiveness and efficiency of EMS in the entire organisations.
3.4 Benefit of Implementing ISO 14001 in Construction Organizations
According to Blackmores (2008) noted, there are three (3) main categories of benefits which are financial, operational or internal and external ranges as shown below:
Cost savings by minimise the waste and use of natural resources such as electricity, water, gas and fuels efficiently.
Identify the environmental risks and addressing the weaknesses. Helps the organisation to prevent the fines and penalties by fit to meet the environmental legislation,
Indicating better risk management to helps minimising the insurance costs.
Improve the performance and efficiency in general
Constrict the production processes, minimise in the risk of incidents and produce better efficiency
Eliminate unforeseen and consistency by controlling the disruption and waste
Staffs responsibility are clarified clearly
Internal communications and morale improved
Express as innovative and forward thinking approach
Lead to better public perception of the organization and a competitive advantage, furthermore to improve sales opportunities
Lead to better community awareness of the impact of the construction activities on the local residents such as noise, smell, dust, vibration, etc.
Demonstrate commitment to the environment and provide confidence to the customers, trade partners, stakeholders, regulators and local authority
In addition, the implementing of ISO 14001 gives a lot of benefits such as “protection of the environment; reduced operating costs; increased access to markets; demonstrated compliance with regulations; improve environmental performance; improved customer trust and satisfaction enhanced corporate image and credibility; employee involvement and education; and potential impact on world trade to allow competition on an equal basis” (George Ofori et al, 2000).
3.5 Environmental Management System (EMS) Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.) Schemes by CIDB
EMS DIY Schemes is a part of the effective communication plan to be jointly executed by CIDB and Stakeholders, it was designed for given the significant importance of external accreditation which encouraging the construction companies to attain the ISO 14001:2004 certification. This scheme has two certifications which are ISO 14001 EMS Certificate and the CIDB EMS Certificate.
However, there are 3 main objectives which to be achieved by the CIDB as listed below:
Provide formal recognition of certified contractors on commitment to excellence environmental management
Convenient the employers of the contractors such as JKR, housing developers and local authorities to select certified contractors, who have practicing commitment to excellence environmental management
Provide CIDB with an index for monitoring and reporting the general environmental management awareness and practice of Malaysian contractors, as reflected in the annual number of contractors certified to the two EMS certification schemes.
The overall aim of these schemes is to subsidise the Malaysian contractors with a cost-effective program in order to improve their performance up to a standardised level as well as in developed countries. Meanwhile, it also helps to assist the contractors to upgrade their environmental management performance throughout the EMS certification programs.
At first, the contractor has to attend the EMS Awareness Program which consists of 3 module, such as Module AP1, AP2 and AP3 in order to choose whether CIDB EMS Certification Program or ISO 14001 EMS Certification Program. This allow the contractor to understand regarding “Why, How and Benefits or Implementing Systematic Environmental Management” before selecting either one of the EMS Programs by CIDB. Besides, an EMS Awareness Training Certificate will be issued by the CIDB to the participant after the completion of 3 training modules in the EMS Awareness Program. After that, it is a condition precedent to carry on either one of the two EMS D.I.Y. Programs by CIDB and 3 months will be given the participants to decide after completion of EMS Awareness Program. The following table shows the EMS Awareness Program.
Table: Environmental Management System Awareness Program (CIDB, 2007)
Environmental Awareness and Education
Training Module AP1
Environmental Issues & Malaysia Environmental Policy
Introduction to CIDB- D.I.Y Scheme.
Introduction to Global Environmental Problems and Management Issues.
Introduction to Malaysian environmental management policies
Training Module AP2
Introduction to ISO 14001 EMS
Introduction to ISO 14001:2004 EMS Standard and the Requirements.
Strategic EMS Implementation Plan.
Training Module AP3
Malaysia Environmental Legal & Regulatory Requirements
Awareness of the current environmental legal and regulatory requirements in the Malaysian construction industry
To identify legal and other requirements and develop appropriate Legal Register
3.5.1 CIDB EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program
CIDB EMS Certification Program is an EMS Program under CIDB EMS DIY Scheme which takes 6 months from Phase 1 to 4 as shown in the table below. However, the participant must undergo the EMS Awareness Program before undertake this program and it only allows the CIDB registered contractors from Class G1-G6. Conversely, Class G7 contractors are only permitted to participant for ISO 14001 EMS Certification. There are some conditions in implementation of the EMS required such as, the first year shall be for one on-going project, second year shall be for three on-going projects, third and subsequent year shall be for all projects. Meanwhile, the name of all projects involved in the implementation of EMS shall be included in the CIDB EMS certificate and annual renewal of the certificate is depend on the compliance satisfaction with the annual EMS audit requirements. The action plan of the CIDB EMS Certification Program is shown as below:
Table: CIDB EMS Certification Program Processes (CIDB, 2007)
EMS Planning & Documentation
Training Module CP1
Training to Introduce the EMS Plan (Content and Implementation Steps).
Development of the EMS Plan.
Prepare EMS Plan
Contractors to prepare the EMS Plan & Submit to Consultants for evaluation.
Evaluation of EMS Plan
On-site Evaluation of the EMS Plan
On-Site review the EMS Plan & interview key staffs.
Identify the EMS Implementation Project (minimum 1 construction project).
Take Corrective Action
Based on evaluation findings, contractor takes appropriate corrective action and amends the necessary documentation.
Implementation of EMS Plan
Implementing the EMS Plan
Contractor implements the EMS Plan (Office and minimum 1 construction project).
Consultancy Support on the EMS Plan Implementation
Consultant will visit the contractor monthly to provide on-site implementation advices and supports.
CIDB EMS Certification Audit
CIDB Appointed Auditor performs the EMS Certification Audit.
CIDB Appointed Auditor
Take Corrective Action
Take corrective actions to close out the non-conformance found in the Audit.
Submit corrective action plan to Auditor.
Award of CIDB EMS Certification
Certification Award after review of the corrective action plan.
Registration Fee and Payment
The table below states the overall registration fees to be paid. The payments are separated into 2 stages upon the start of the respective phases. Meanwhile, the registration fees need to be paid upon the Stage 1 (EMS Awareness Program). However, these payments are excluded the accommodation and travel fees of the participants.
Table: CIDB EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program Fee and Payment (CIDB, 2007)
CIDB EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program
Total Fee: RM 8,500.00
Payment in 2 Stages
Payment by Contractors
Environmental Awareness Education
EMS Planning and Documentation
Evaluation of EMS Plan
Implementation of EMS Plan
It also covers the following:
Award of CIDB EMS Certificate
3.5.2 ISO 14001 EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program
ISO 14001 EMS Certification Program under CIDB EMS DIY Scheme is an EMS Program by CIDB. It takes 10 months to complete from Phase 1 to 6 and it is open to every contractors. Table below shows the ISO 14001 EMS Certification Processes.
Table: ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) Certification Program
Training Module IP1
ISO 14001 EMS briefing for Top Management
Presentation to Top Management on the EMS Objectives, Benefits, Roles and Responsibilities.
Training Module IP2
Environmental Policy, Aspects & Significant Impacts
Training on methods to identify and develop Environmental Aspects & Impacts.
Decide Criteria and Methodology for Determining Significant Impacts.
Prepare Policy, Legal & Environmental Aspects Register, Implementation Plan
Contractor to prepare the Environmental Policy, Legal Registers and Environmental Aspects & Impacts Register.
Contractor to plan & develop and implementation plan and milestones.
On-site Review & Consultation on Policy, Legal & Aspects Register
Assessment of current EMS status against ISO 14001:2004 & other legal requirements.
Review the Implementation Plan & Approach for the EMS implementation
Training Module IP 4
Objectives, Targets, KPI & EMP
Introduction to importance and formulation in establishing the objectives, targets, Key Performance Indication (KPI) and Environmental Management Program (EMP).
Prepare Objectives, Targets & EMP
Contractor to prepare the environmental Objectives, Targets, KPI and EMP.
On-site Review & Consultation on Objectives, Targets, KPI & EMP
Consultant to review and finalise the Objectives, Targets, KPI and EMP established.
Documentation & EMS Implementation 1
Off-site Preparation of EMS Manual & Procedures Guidelines
Off-site Preparation of Guidelines for EMS Manual & Procedures specific to the contractor’s organisation.
Training Module IP7
ISO 14001 EMS Documentation & Implementation
Introduce and develop the EMS documentation (Manual, Procedures) and implementation programme.
Softcopies provided for the Environmental System & operational procedures and forms.
EMS Documentation & Implementation
Contractor to prepare EMS Manual & Procedures based on Consultant’s guidelines & information provided. The template formats provided on computer disk will be used.
Initiate EMS Implementation & Collect the initial data.
On-site Review & Finalise the EMS Manual & Procedures
On-site Review & Consultation on EMS Manual & Procedures. Amend the documents if necessary.
Stage 1 Audit
Third Party Certification Body’s Auditor conducts Documentation Audit.
Take Corrective action
Based on audit findings, contractor takes appropriate corrective action and amends the necessary documentation.
Documentation & EMS Implementation 2
Continue EMS implementation
Continue implementing the procedures and programmes as planned – e.g. Records, monitoring data, training etc. as per tasks outlined.
On-Site Consultation on Implementation Progress
On-site Monitoring & Consultation on Implementation of Procedures and EMP to ensure the implementation programmes are properly in place and utilised. Consultant to provide hands on guidance.
Checking & Management Review
Training Module IP10
ISO 14001 EMS Internal Auditor Training
Conduct ISO 14001 EMS Internal Auditor Training to provide skills and knowledge on how to conduct internal audit and becoming a competent internal auditor.
Conduct Internal Audit & Take Corrective Actions
Contractor to conduct internal audit to identify gaps in the systems.
Auditor to prepare internal audit report and issue corrective actions request if required.
Responsible personnel to take appropriate corrective actions.
On-site Monitoring & Consultation on Internal Audit and Corrective actions taken
To check and review EMS Implementation progress and provide hands on guidance.
To close out the Corrective Action Requests.
Conduct Management Review
Conduct Management Review to communicate and review EMS performance & improvements plans.
On-site Consultation on EMS Implementation & Site Readiness
On-site Monitoring & Consultation on Management Review and EMP.
Check site condition.
Finalise EMS and Ensure Site Readiness
Contractor to finalise EMS and ensure Site Readiness.
Perform Pre-certification assessment to determine the conformity of the EMS implementation.
Identify improvement opportunities and present pre-assessment audit report.
Take corrective actions
Take corrective actions to close out the non-conformance found in the pre-assessment.
Audit & Certification Award
Stage 2 Audit
Third Party Certification Body’s Auditors conduct the Implementation Audit.
Take Corrective Actions
Take corrective actions to close out the non-conformance found in the Implementation Audit.
Submit corrective action plan to Certification Audit.
Award of ISO 14001 EMS
ISO 14001:2004 EMS Certification Award.
Registration Fee and Payment
Table below shows the program fees and payment required to be paid upon the start of respective phases. However, registration fees need to be paid upon the Stage 1 (EMS Awareness Program). Besides, these fees are not including the travel and accommodation of the participants.
Table: ISO 14001 EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program Fee and Payment (CIDB, 2007)
ISO 14001 EMS Certificate D.I.Y. Program
Total Fee: RM 18,900.00
Payment in 3 Stages
Payment by Contractors
Environmental Awareness Education
EMS Appreciation For Top Management
Documentation and EMS Implementation 1
EMS Implementation 1
EMS Implementation 2
Checking & Management Review
It also covers the following:
Audit Stage 1
Audit Stage 2
Award of ISO 14001 EMS Certificate
3.6 Issues & Challenges of Implementation of ISO 14001 as an Environmental Management System (EMS) in Malaysian Construction Organisations
According to George Ofori et al (2000), scarcity of experienced personnel, low level of awareness in the industry, greater cost incurred, lack recognition by government and clients due to low level of responsiveness and interest in ISO 14001 has being one of the issues and challenges of implementing ISO 14001 as an EMS in the construction industry. Besides, George Ofori et al (2000) also states that part of the clients are deficit in the construction industry knowledge, lack of trained personnel and afraid on the opposite effects of changes in traditional practices.
In short, the CIDB has providing the significant ISO 14001 EMS Certification Program to every contractor by undergoes critical process to obtain the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System (EMS) Certificate. CIDB has indicated and clarified this program to simplify the processes and procedure of certification. Besides, it benefits the contractor with much important information of environmental management information, innovative processes and procedures, distinctive theoretical and practical knowledge qualified on the ISO 14001:2004. In addition, it could be an excellence guideline of ISO 14001 as an effective EMS to encounter the negative environmental impacts. Consequently, it is a value added qualification and recognition to the contractor organisation by providing the contractor with excellence commitment to the environmental management, requirements and perspectives.
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