Environmental engineering is the integration of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment, to provide healthy water, air and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediatepollution sites. Furthermore it is concerned with finding plausible solutions in the field of public health, implementing law, which promote adequate sanitation in urban, rural and recreational areas. It involves waste water management and air pollution control, recycling,waste disposal, radiation protection, industrial hygiene, environmental sustainability, and public health issues as well as knowledge of environmental engineering law. It also includes studies on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.
Environmental engineers study the effect of technological advances on the environment. To do so, they conduct hazardous waste management studies to evaluate the significance of such hazards, advise on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. Environmental engineers also design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems as well as address local and worldwide environmental issues such as the effects of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution and air pollution from automobile exhausts and industrial sources. The field emerged as a separate environmental discipline during the middle third of the 20th century in response to widespread public concern about water and pollution and increasingly extensive environmental quality degradation.
Mitsch and Jorgensen defined and characterized ecological engineering in a 1989 book and clarified it further in their 2004 book. They suggested the goal of ecological engineering as:
a) the restoration of ecosystems that have been substantially disturbed by human activities such as environmental pollution or land disturbance, and
b) the development of new sustainable ecosystems that have both human and ecological values.
They summarized the five concepts, key to ecological engineering as:
1. it is based on the self-designing capacity of ecosystems,
2. it can be a field test of ecological theory,
3. it relies on integrated system approaches,
4. it conserves non-renewable energy,
5. it supports biological conservation.
This engineering discipline combines basic and applied science from engineering, ecology, economics and natural sciences for the restoration and construction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Scientists have developed air pollution dispersion models to evaluate the concentration of a pollutant at a receptor or the impact on overall air quality from vehicle exhausts and industrial flue gas stack emissions. To some extent, this field overlaps the desire to decrease carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from combustion processes.
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