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  1.   Environmental Management

    You are an environmental consultant who has been tasked by a company to write an environmental plan to improve the management of an environmental pollutant (Nitrate Fertilizer) at that company based on use of an environmental management system.  The plan must be based on addressing the pollutant (Nitrate Fertilizer) impacts on the natural environment through applying knowledge of (I) legal requirements, (ii) policy principles and (iii) environmental best practice relevant to the specific company and the pollutant.

    The plan must consider implementation through clear identification of (i) relevant internal and external stakeholders, (ii) improvement actions, and (iii) on-going evaluation of performance through involvement, communication and reporting


    • Suitable introduction and appraisal of the company, industry and environmental pollutant explaining the resulting pollutant source,  pathways and receptors in the natural environment; including the possible  impacts to ecological systems, ecosystem services and natural cycles  arising from the pollutant
    • Environmental/Pollution prevention policy principles and key legislation (including regulator actions) which apply to the specific pollutant are  discussed giving rise to actions and management solutions that must  be  considered within the company environmental management system
    • Detailed management solutions to prevent pollution are identified in an action plan considering best practice, best available techniques, implementation, stakeholders and on-going programme monitoring.
    • Governance of the environmental improvement plan will be explained to include processes which relate to implementation, oversight, progress, communication and reporting. Internal and external stakeholders, regulators, workers and community will be considered where necessary.
    • Suitable and sufficient conclusion to the essay must be provided



Subject Essay Writing Pages 13 Style APA


  Executive Summary

In the recent years, the effect of the use of nitrogen fertilizer on atmospheric and water pollution has received increased focus. The ecological concerns about the effects of the use of fertilizers has been proved to be real and will continue to be of increased significance in the future. Limits regarding the use of fertilizers have been legislated in a number of countries, and further determinations to limit their use can be anticipated. Studies have shown that excessive nitrate negatively affects soil, air, water, and the environment in general. It is for this reason that report aims at giving a comprehensive environmental plan that shows how a company can improve its management of nitrate fertilizer based on the use of EMS. The report covers implementation of EMS via a clear identification of pertinent external stakeholders, improvement actions, and on-going assessment of performance via communication, reporting, and involvement for the company. Acknowledging the effects of excessive nitrate fertilizers, this report recommends that for a company that is using nitrate fertilizers should consider the standards and policies regarding environmental policies while also taking into consideration management strategies that can help them minimize their use of excessive nitrate or nitrogen compounds. 






By the end of this century, it is anticipated that the population of the world will be six billion, with nearly all the growth happening in the developing nations (Sroufe 2003). Of that population, it is predicted that about 87% will be living in the developing countries. While there is a call to minimize excessive nitrogen (N) fertilizer use in developed nations, increased use of the N fertilizers will be needful across the developing world. The use of N fertilizers has, however, been associated with several effects. Ground water pollution has been shown to occur largely on light-textured soils that have a high manuring and/or fertilization rates, especially in places that are subjected to intensive irrigation and/or rainfall, and upon organic soils that are drained for purposes of agricultural use (Melnyk et al. 2003). Discussions continue across the world regarding the significance and occurrence of the greenhouse effect, which essentially refer to the earth’s warming due to increased concentration of the earth’s atmospheric pollutants (like methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, ozone, oxides of sulphur, and halocarbons). It is against this background that this environmental plan will comprehensively show how to improve the management of nitrate fertilizer based upon the use of an environmental management system. The plan will be based upon addressing the nitrate fertilizer pollutant’s impacts upon the natural ecology through the application of policy principles, legal requirements, and environmental best practices. The plan will cover implementation via a clear identification of pertinent external stakeholders, improvement actions, and on-going assessment of performance via communication, reporting, and involvement.

The Effects of Nitrate Fertilizer on the Environment

During the process of addition of fertilizer to the soil, nitrogen accumulates to promote plants’ growth and development. When organic matters decay, the kind of nitrogen produced by the decomposed body is in the nitrate form, which is very transportable (Boiral 2007). There are several effects of this nitrate to every facet of living thing. First, the most crucial health impact of nitrate ingestion, according to Faure and Niels (2014), is mathemoglobunemia (a reduction in the level of blood haemoglobin) in young children below the age of six months (the blue baby syndrome). As a result of its hazardous effects on human beings, a national standard was instituted to sensitize people that nitrate pollutant at a 10mg NO3per litre was acceptable (Villholth & Rajasooriyar 2010). 

To plants, nitrogen in tissues of plants is employed for acids as well as for the making of proteins along with other organic compounds (Tsiouris et al. 2002). However, excessive and unscientific use of nitrate contaminates the environment due to the nitrogen element in the compound. Sapek (2013) sates that excess nitrogen in soil may minimise the quality of crop, increase the impacts of weed competition, along with a rise in a plant’s vulnerability to attack by insects and plant diseases. Of even worse potential dangers are the impacts of excess nitrate levels on the ecosystem and humans since both the ecosystem and humans depend on agricultural products either directly or indirectly.

Similarly, excess nitrate has been shown to affect groundwater. So far, it is evident that nitrate is the most common form of nitrogen. It is equally highly soluble in soil waters. For this reason, it has the ability to move with excess water from irrigation and rainfall, and its destiny is largely determined by the hydrology and water relations in a given region. Hillhouse et al. (2018) state that excess nitrogen is crucial in island ecologies, partly because of the susceptible condition of human beings’ drinking water supplies. Most of the water human beings drink is obtained from groundwater, which is fed by high rainfalls on mountainous regions of islands. Mello et al. (2017) note that rainwater permeates into the island mass before collecting in what is referred to as aquifer. Since these aquifers are confined to each landmass, if they are contaminated then the users of waters from them will be affected.

Applicable Standards 

Policy Principles

The European Union (UN) ecological principles provide principles that serve to protect the natural world. The principles serves as guidelines for decision-makers and judges, giving laws meaning and shape. They are employed in public authority and government decisions, including management of marine safeguarded areas, planning applications, and dealing with polluted lands. First is the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle states that where there is improbability regarding the danger of ecological harm in using a given substance, protective measures should be taken minus having to wait till the danger or harm materialises (Kasmaei et al. 2017). The second principle is the prevention principle. This principle requires that preventative or protective measures be taken care of to avoid and anticipate ecological damages before they occur (El-Sabagh et al. 2017). According to this principle, ecological damages ought to be corrected right at the source. Alongside the prevention principle, this principles makes sure that pollution and damage are dealt with where they happen. For this reason, it functions to in various UK ecological policy in prioritising the manner in which ecological damages are addressed (Acobsen et al. 1980). Further, there is the polluter principle. Just as the name to the principle suggests, this principle holds that the individual who causes contamination ought to bear the costs that come due to the damage(s) caused by the pollution and any remedy that may be needed (Radwan & DeBell 1980). This principle plays a crucial role in ecological management since it acts as a deterrent and directs accountability for damages and harms caused on the environment. Last is the integration principle. The principle requires that ecological protection be integrated into all other principles and policies that are in accordance with fostering an area’s sustainable development (Sönmez et al. 2007).

Apart from the above mentioned principles, there are technologies (Best Available Technique (BAT)) that can be employed to remove nitrate from drinking water. They include reverse osmosis, ion exchange, distillation, electrodialysis, and Nitrate “selective” anion exchange resins. However, presently, reverse osmosis (with thin film composite (TFC) membrane), distillation, and ion exchange (Cl form, type I and type II, subject to rival sulfates) are the three economically viable and practical methods for removing nitrate from water when point-of-entry/ point-of-use (POE/POU) devices are considered.


Various regions and governments have set up legislations that are meant to guide industries and companies about their duties, requirements, and emission limits as far as pollution of the environment is concerned. According to Rivers et al. (1996), under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set up a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for total nitrite/nitrate at 10.0 mg/L for nitrate and 1.0 mg/L for nitrite (as nitrogen) (Radwan & DeBell 1980). Feng et al. (2014) explains that this is the health-founded target at which no anticipated or known adverse impacts upon human beings’ health occur as well as for which a satisfactory margin of welfare or safety exists. These limits have been set by the US EPA to safeguard depending upon the best available science with the intention of preventing possible health challenges to infants and young children (Sönmez et al. 2007).  The Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) are set close to the MCLG, taking into consideration benefits, costs, and public water systems’ ability to detect as well as remove pollutants using appropriate suitable treatment know-hows (Żemigała 2015). Additionally, there is groundwater protection principle that functions to minimize possible sources of nitrate or nitrite contamination of country’s groundwater as well as to safeguard their drinking water (Martín et al. 2016). This rule checks fall application of nitrogen fertilizer in regions susceptible to pollution, and outlines steps to minimize the harshness of the challenge in regions where nitrite and nitrate in the regions’ public water supply boreholes is already raised.


To minimize the effects of nitrate fertilizer contaminants, there are codes of practice, best practice guidance, environmental management systems (EMS) standards, and BREF notes regarding nitrate pollution. The U.S. EPA recommends a 10 mg/L for nitrate and 1.0 mg for nitrite limits in drinking water as the MCL or public water systems. According to Heras et al. (2016), public water systems are lawfully defined as those systems that have a minimum of 15 links or frequently serve a minimum of 25 people. According to codes of practice, these systems must obey the 10 mg/L for nitrate and 1.0 mg/L for nitrite (Ejdys et al. 2016). Similarly, EPA requires that public water systems be regularly tested for nitrite-nitrogen and nitrate-nitrogen and the results of these tests are available with suppliers. In case a tests shows that the nitrite-nitrogen and/or nitrate-nitrogen concentration of a delivered water surpasses the EPA standard, the public needs to be informed and treatment must follow (Martín et al. 2016).  The MCL also applies to all community water supply systems (CWSS). Families that depend on private boreholes or wells are, however, not subject to the federal MCL for nitrite and nitrate, yet levels above the 10 mg/L for nitrates and 1.0 mg/L for nitrite are regarded as unsafe for human consumption. According to standards about nitrate pollutant, should excess nitrite-nitrogen and nitrate-nitrogen be present in a given water supply, two best practice guidelines are provided: get an alternative supply of water or make use of certain types of treatment to remove the nitrite-nitrogen and/or nitrate-nitrogen (Żemigała 2015). The need to employ an alternative water supply or remove nitrate-nitrogen from water ought to be reached at before investing in an alternative supply or treatment equipment.

Furthermore, there are high possibilities that activities near boreholes and wells can pollute water supplies. Domestic boreholes and wells that are close to potential points of sources of pollution ought to be tested at least once yearly for purposes of monitoring changes in nitrite and nitrate concentrations (Heras et al. 2016).  Depending upon the location of the borehole or well relative to places where nitrate fertilizers are applied, follow up testing ought to be conducted to monitor variations from one point to another. All supplies of drinking water ought to be checked at least once in two years to assure that substantial rises in nitrogen compounds are not occurring. 

Management Strategy

Apart from being compliant to the standards mentioned above, there are certain management strategies that should be considered to provide for continual advancement. First is the BREF or ‘BAT reference document’. BAT implies the available techniques that are best for minimizing or preventing impacts and emissions on the environment (Ejdys et al. 2016).  As such, BREFs bring utilizers’ real-world familiarities of BAT together to provide reference data and information for regulators to employ when determining limit and permit conditions. In particular, the documents describe applied techniques, consumption levels, and present emissions, techniques that are regarded for determination of BAT, BAT conclusions, and other emerging techniques. BREF, therefore, means a document that results from the interaction between organized information pursuant to Article 13 of the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). By employing BREF, a company gets a permit that indicates what it must use or it may as well institute emission limit valves (ELV) for the company or other ecological results, based upon BAT (Feng et al. 2014). Acobsen et al. (1980) state that a permit may instruct a company to use certain appropriate measures of follow BAT to attain a result or ELV, check guide for the company’s activity for the BAT for a given process. Additionally, a company has the chance to decide and choose a BAT to employ if its permit does not tell the company which BAT to employ. 

Another management strategy that can be employed are the EMS elements. EMS is a system that functions to monitor, track, and report emission information, especially with regard to gas and oil sector. To develop the EMS for a company, the company needs to be compliant with the ISO 14001 standard as part of the company’s strategy to employ its ecological policy as well as address governmental policies/regulations. The EMS concentrates resources upon the dedications that are identified within the company’s policy. Rivers et al. (1996) state that such commitments may include eliminating or minimizing the negative ecological effects of a company’s services, products, and activities and/or raising their positive impacts. The EMS, therefore, gives a structure that a company can follow systematically, as opposed to instituting ecological performance needs. A company desiring to maintain, improve, or set up an EMS so that it can conform with its established ecological requirements and policy, it should use the ISO14001:2015 (Kasmaei et al. 2017). For a company to employ the ISO14001, it needs to follow EMS’s PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle that begins with developing a company’s ecological policy, planning its EMS, and then implementing it. After the implementation, the company checks the system and act on it to correct any mistake that could be inherent with the system. This model is nonstop since an EMS is a process of continuous improvement in which a company is continually revising and reviewing the system.


To this end, it is evident that exposure to high nitrate levels has several effects in human beings, like causing blue baby syndrome. In addition, high levels of nitrates affect other aspects of the environment. As such, various policies, standards, policy principles, and legislation have been set to guide on the usage of nitrates. Along with policies and standards, there are strategies that can be employed to help reduce excess nitrate. These may include being compliant with ISO14001 and BREF.



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