The Resource Management Act 1991(RM) has integrated the laws governing the land, water and air resources together. It has introduced a new approach towards management of the environment. It acts an eco-system which states the fact that the components of the environment are not alone and it is impacted by the human activities.
RM was formulated for promoting the sustainable management of physical and natural resources The concept of sustainable management means handling the usage, evolution and safeguarding of natural and physical resources in such a manner which enables the society and humans for providing for their cultural, economic and social well-being, health and safety(Mitchell, 2013).
The other acts related to protection of the environment can be Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996, Environment Act 1996, Fisheries Act 1996, Conservation Act 1987 etc.
So, this academic report states the environmental impact during construction and operation. The impact would comply with six additional criteria and the indicators to monitor the impact created on the environment due to construction and operation of the proposed 5-star hotel on the shore of Lake Rotorua.
Construction project has a major influence on the environment at the local and global level. Each phase of the construction process has an assessable environmental impact. The mining process which is used to source the raw material, the construction process, the transportation of these materials and the waste removal and disposal process.
Every construction project leads to the emission of carbon dioxide and other waste products which pollute the air and contribute to the global climate change. The most destructive aspect of construction is the operation of heavy machinery used in the development of the building.
The cement industry adds to 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The applications of fuel and electricity are main suppliers to polluting the environment. Fossil fuels are utilized for extracting and transporting minerals, to process them and even to power tools on construction sites.
As the construction is on the shore of a lake, so there is a possibility of water pollution. There are various causes of water pollution on the construction sites. They comprise of diesel and other fossil fuels, solvents and toxic chemicals etc (Kasim, Gursoy, Okumus & Wong, 2014).
Even the spill of a minor chemical may enter into the waterways thereby harming water and aquatic life. Furthermore, the daily operation of a building accounts for 40% of the total energy usage worldwide.
The construction of the building may also generate a large quantity of waste. It comprises of metals, glass, wood, plastic, bricks, asphalt and concrete. The waste is disposed of in landfills and incinerators. It results in the pollution of land and air. The transportation required for removal of waste has a main influence on the environment as well (Zhang, Joglekar & Verma, 2012).
Compliance with plans and legislation
In order to lessen the negative influence of construction on the environment, Resource Management Act 1991(RMA) has been introduced for encouraging the sustainable management of physical and natural resources.
Sustainable Management means managing the usage, protection and safeguarding of physical and natural resources in a way to permit people and communities for promoting their social, cultural and economic well-being, health and safety. The Act helps in supporting the potential physical and natural resources so that the necessities of the future generations can be met.
It helps in protecting the life-supporting capability of air, water, land and ecosystems. It avoids, mitigates and remedies any contrary impacts on the environment. The RMA has formulated three distinct yet related functions in this regard (Han & Yoon, 2015).
It has allocated access to and usage of common property natural resources such as fresh, coastal and groundwater resources, geothermal energy and resources, the surface of lakes and rivers, seabed and foreshore. It has managed the adverse effects of all the activities which use land, water or air.
It also controls and discharges all the contaminants to air, land and water comprising of fresh, ground and coastal water. According to RMA, everyone has the duty to mitigate, avoid and resolve the adverse impact on the environment.
Various councils have also been formed in this regard. One of them is New Zealand Construction Industry Council(CIC) which is a non-profit industrial association in the building and construction design and property sectors( New Zealand Construction Industry Council(CIC), 2018).
The Wellington City Council has also been formulated for building sustainability in Wellington. The council has tried to improve the sustainability of commercial buildings thereby reducing waste and damage to the environment (Wellington City Council, n.d.).
The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) has also helped in promoting better buildings as they are developed with the intention to provide healthier homes and workplaces for the citizens of New Zealand(New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), n.d.).
The additional criteria in the planning principles can be referred as general, design and specific requirements. General issues to be considered can be as follows:
- Assessing the needs of new construction: Is the new building essential for meeting the requirements of the space?
- Development of optimization program: Is the development program designed for fulfilling the requirements which are needed?
- Are the site related effects considered: Does the site support the economic and ecological requirements?
- Optimize building design: The building should be designed in terms of economy, ecology , configuration and functionality.
In the designing aspect, while designing buildings, care must be taken to make sure that the demands on functionality and design are fulfilled. The health and comfort are assured during the period of the use (Park, Jeong Kim & McCleary, 2014).
The costs of energy, operation and maintenance are minimized along with conserving of resources and environment. The building can be functioned with low cleaning costs or can be self-cleaned. Furthermore, with the help of cooperation of all the stakeholders, a sustainability concept should be developed on the project.
The specific requirements pertain to a checklist of specified requirements of buildings. It also describes the design requirements in the context of sustainability. It assesses the influence of construction, maintenance and operational stages on the design of the architect.
It also emphasizes the appropriate design criteria for the experts accountable for building installations and services. It further considers the ecological and economic assessments of the building from its development to its demolition( Ham & Han,2013).
Indicators, monitoring, and evaluation
The indicators for monitoring the general issues are an assessment of the durability of the construction material and building components. It should be assessed if there is an optimization of building components geometries.
With regards to the design framework, it should be assessed if the building design has minimized and optimized the technical installations with the help of appropriate choice of geometries. In the context of specific requirements, the overall assessment should be done to analyze the probable substitutes in the areas of conflict pertaining to investment costs vs. operational costs, conventional vs. innovative construction methodologies and investment and operational costs vs. external costs and environmental damage( Chou,2014).
RMA requires the local authorities to monitor and evaluate the state of the environment in their jurisdiction and assess if their policy statements are working as per the criteria set by them. The act also mandates the authorities and councils to evaluate if the resource consents and their associated conditions are being properly carried out.
In case of any discrepancy from the original target, the local authority must act to resolve the matter either by changing the target or the measures adopted to comply with them.
The Ministry of Environment in New Zealand coordinates the development of environmental standards thereby assisting the local authorities and resource users for implementing their responsibilities as per RMA (Ericksen, Berke & Dixon, 2017).
As the hotel would be operated near a lake, so there are chances that the water may get polluted due to the activities of the tourists. They might swim in the lake which can pose threats to the ecosystem. The risks associated with swimming in the lake arise due to turbidity, pollution or pathogens.
The water of the lake is polluted due to the emission of various pollutants by the tourists. A bad influence of tourism occurs when the number of visitors exceeds than the capability of the environment to cope up with the acceptable limits of change.
Uncontrolled tourism can put enormous pressure on land and leads to erosion of soil, discharges into the sea, loss of natural habitats and straining on water resources.It can also force the local population to contest for the use of important resources (Rahman, Reynolds & Svaren, 2012).
Tourists can generate great pressure on local assets such as food, energy and other raw materials which may be in short supply. The extraction and transportation of the resources may create physical influence related to the exploitation.
It may also cause degradation of land and its resources such as minerals, fertile soil, wetland and fossil fuels. Due to the improved construction of tourism and recreational facilities, the pressure on these resources has increased. The direct influence on the natural resources both renewable and non-renewable can be caused due to use of land for housing, use of building material and other infrastructure provision (Myers, Clarkson, Reeves & Clarkson, 2013).
The operation of the hotel can also cause air and noise pollution. The emission due to transportation and production of energy and its usage is linked to acid rain, global warming and photochemical pollution.
Compliance with plans and legislation
One of the laws for safeguarding the natural resources from the negative impact of operating of a hotel is Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects ) Act 2012. It came into force on 28th June 2013.
It aims for promoting the sustainable management of natural resources in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf. It aims to protect the EEZ and continental shelf from pollution by managing the dumping and discharge of waste.
It attempts to accomplish the goals by permitting the control of certain activities which were earlier not regulated in the EEZ and continental shelf. The Ministry of Environment is accountable for the execution of this act (Boschen, Rowden, Clark & Gardner,2013).
Another set of policies are developed by the Far North District Council. The Litter Infringement policy was adopted on 16th February 2017. The Council is accountable for supervising the district for dumping of litters, acting on complaints and infringing those who are responsible for the dumping of garbage (Far North District Council, 2017). The council has the right to impose fines for littering as per the Act.
Moreover, Environment Act 1986 was formulated by the Ministry for the Environment and the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. The functions of the Ministry for the Environment are to counsel the Minister on all the aspects of the administration of environment comprising of the management policies for natural and physical resources and ecosystems for accomplishing the objects of the act (Brown, Clarkson, Barton & Joshi, 2013).
There are three additional criteria for assessing the environmental impact due to the operation of the hotel near the lake. Firstly, there should be a careful evaluation of the impact on the environment, the ecosystem and the diversity due to the operation of the hotel.
The site should be assessed with the reference of a wider environment and the habitats dwelling on the site or in the adjoining places. There may be an existence of some of the rare species of aquatic animals in the lake.
Secondly, there should be an onsite management of waste. The acquired land should provide for a green belt in which the treated wastewater can be utilized from the wastewater treatment system. There must be enough space for storing solid waste(Burby et al.,2013).
Space and waste must be available for reuse in the future. The existing space and infrastructure should be utilized thereby reducing the pressure on undeveloped land. If possible, it would be advisable to select a land which offers the probabilities of urban redevelopment.
Thirdly, the hotel should reuse the linens and towels so that water can be saved. It will further minimize the use of detergents and energy which will help to reduce the release of greenhouse gases. The hotel should place water saving instruction cards in rooms so that the guests can be made aware of the ways to save water.It should also be assessed if the hotel has avoided the purchasing of plastic based packing. The staff should rather use paper bags manufactured from recyclable products( Howden-Chapman et al.,2012).
Indicators, monitoring and evaluation
The indicators to be monitored for the environmental impact created due to operations of the hotel are if the hotel has formulated any plans and policies for the preservation of the environment. The hotel must comply with various laws such as Resource Management Act 1991, Environment Act 1986 etc.
The indicators for management of waste can be monitored by identification of the waste streams and monitoring the degree to which the objectives are accomplished. A waste prevention indicator should illustrate that the activities related to waste management have improved over a period of time through the life cycle of the products (Hall, Scott & Gössling, 2013).
The indicators for monitoring the reuse of water and prevention of its wastage can be analyzed by assessment of the water bills of the hotels by the local authority and regional council. It should also be verified if the hotel has created an inventory for all its water using activities.
The Resource Management Act 1991is the major tool for monitoring and evaluating the use of natural properties and protection of the life carrying capability of water, air, soil and ecosystems. This law along with Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 allow for public participation in the decision-making process (Therivel & Paridario, 2013).
The regional government and councils such as Bay of Plenty Regional Council have formulated plans and policies for evaluating the influences of human activities on the environment.The Regional Policy Statement consists of implementation of plans while maintaining the existing infrastructures.
The policies are meant to evaluate the management of sewage, stormwater and flood protection systems. Most of the environmental enhancement and protection activities include restoration of wetland, planting, protection of soil from erosion, promotion of sustainable transport which will help in reduction of emissions and carbon sequestration (Buckley, 2012).
The policies related to dealing with natural hazards should also be supervised by the local government and regional council. The natural hazards such as flooding, storm surge and wind damage should be deal by the hotel as the area is close to coastal plains and rivers.
Hence to conclude, it can be said that sustainability has been a growing focus for the hoteliers in today's era. They should strive to achieve a balance between cost reduction and improvement in efficiency . It can be achieved by implementation of more efficient working processes and evolution of environmental technologies.
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