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Unit 1 Env Awareness Unit 2 Env Assessment
Unit 3 Env Practice

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Indirect Impacts

You have probably noticed already that your place of work does not throw out great plumes of smoke into the air, or dump tonnes of industrial waste all over the place. Notice that most of the environmental impacts that take place are outside your direct control.

Graphic: Gardening

A typical factory or office looks clean. The plumes are not smoke but steam. The soap suds in the river do not come from the factory but from washing machines in homes. Environmental impacts emerge when you asked questions such as - where does the energy come from? how much transport is required? where does the food come from? and where does the waste end up?

When you turn on the light, you do not see any impact on the environment, although there is one.

The impact is indirect. It is not at your workplace but at the power plant that generated the energy to transmit to the bulb. Likewise if you work in a power plant the direct impacts are the result of the generation process; the indirect impacts are those caused when someone else uses the power you generate, eg to operate machinery. Direct impacts you cause and have control over. Indirect impacts are those you have very little or no control over. All your direct and indirect impacts are interconnected, although it may be difficult to track all the correlations.

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2002 Edition