Top 7 Sustainability Issues With Construction Industry
The construction industry is one of the largest consumers of natural resources. It primarily uses 60 percent of the world’s natural resources directly or indirectly as construction materials for developing buildings and infrastructure. The issues developed after constructing these concrete jungles are even more.
The strong influence of the construction industry on sustainability issues has bought authorities to develop sustainable development objectives. The severity of the problem is better understood by knowing the top sustainability issues for which the construction industry is responsible.
This article explains the top 7 sustainability issues and their connection with the construction industry.
1. Global Warming due to Construction
Global Warming is the process of an increase in global temperatures due to the rise in the amount of carbon-di-oxide and other greenhouse gases.
The carbon-di-oxides emitted by the use of fossil fuels are used to generate energy. This energy is consumed for different phases of the construction life cycle.
The greenhouse gases or GHG emitted from extraction, manufacture, transportation, installation, utilization, maintenance, and disposal of the construction materials.
Global warming results in extreme weather conditions and natural disasters.
2. Loss of Biodiversity and Natural Habitats due to Construction
The land consumption for the construction of structures or extraction of natural resources results in the loss of biodiversity and habitats. It hence led to the loss of species and their extinction. The existence of biodiversity and natural habitats are essential elements required to maintain the balance of the ecosystems.
3. Acidification by Construction Activities
The process of fossil fuel combustion conducted for the manufacture and transportation of construction materials emits a large amount of sulfur and nitrogen compounds. These compounds, if not correctly disposed of, can dissolve in water bodies. Their solid forms are seen in surface waters or the soils. This acidification is the primary cause of acid rain in the environment.
4. Air Pollution due to Construction
The construction activities result in airborne particles that have a size range of less than 10micrometres in diameters. These particles are hence invisible. Airborne particles, both in liquid and solid forms, cause harm to the environment and humans.
Most of the airborne particles are emitted due to construction extraction activities such as mining of aggregate, operation of equipment, production of electricity, manufacturing process, and transportation of materials.
5. Toxicity due to Construction
Toxicity increases in the atmosphere with the presence of heavy metals. The presence of heavy metals in the water when exceeding undesirable limits brings health issues to living. Manufacturing and transportation of construction materials are the major contributors to toxicity.
6. Water Resource Pollution due to Construction
The pollution of water resources by impermeable and non-degradable construction materials reduces the ability to perform groundwater recharge. The depletion and pollution of water resources make the hydrological cycle to alter drastically.
Water is depleted my consuming it in large amounts for construction activities and extraction processes. The pollutants and by-products after construction activities are sent back to water bodies as a form of disposal. It hence pollutes the water bodies.
7. Deforestation due to Construction
Construction demands a large land area. This forces humans to takeover forest resources. With an increase in urbanization, this demand keeps on increasing. The depletion of forest land trees for construction activities are still an increasing trend. These forests have the power to hold more than half of the world’s biodiversity, and hence it is essential to maintain it.
Understanding the risks that construction creates for the environment is the first step towards tackling this issue. Sustainable construction methods are emerging each year to address this situation. The personnel hence working in the construction industry, should also take sustainability as primary concern instead of profit alone.