The importance of environmental concerns on the 21st century primarily lies on the lingering effects of climate change caused by unhealthy industrial practices. Aviation, in particular, is a heavily industrial field known for its various potential environmental effects, especially as its facilities emit greenhouse gasses. Therefore, unsustainably operated airports pose open risks to the environment, as their extensively industrialized nature cause air and water pollution to their immediate surroundings. Adverse environmental consequences arising from the operation of airports may become irreparable for the long term without the application of proper sustainability measures.
Sustainability measures enable harmonious relations between humans and the environment. Without such harmony, humans stand to have lesser chances of survival under an environment severely harmed by destructive outcomes from industrial activities. Applying sustainability measures to airport operation helps operators to become more conscious of the environment through the introduction of cost-efficient methods. Awareness of cost-efficiency also leads airport operators to innovate on specific ways of making airports more sustainable, given the inevitable environmental consequences produced by the heavily industrialized nature of airport operation.
Therefore, this airport sustainability report designed for the Lafayette Regional Airport proposes a specific set of measures suitable for the sustainable operation of an airport catering to its specific capacity as one that caters to a fair amount of domestic passengers. The need to make the operations of Lafayette Regional Airport more sustainable does not anchor on the need to protect its immediate environment, but also involves the purpose of providing specific insights and guidelines applicable to other airports of its size and nature. The focus of this airport sustainability report for the Lafayette Regional Airport revolves around environmental impacts connected to air quality, transportation and water pollution, among many similar others.
2.0 IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT
This section discusses how changes to the operation of Lafayette Regional Airport affect its immediate environment, with specific connections to air quality, transportation and water pollution. Insights and guidelines arising from this section may prove instrumental to the sustainable operation of airports with the same size and capacity as Lafayette Regional Airport.
2.3 IMPROVING AIR QUALITY
This airport sustainability report utilizes a measurement plan from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), despite the regional coverage of Lafayette Regional Airport, for better-optimized measures on dealing with the implications of the operations of said airport on air quality. Five elements compose the ICAO measurement plan, which is also applicable to regional airports: measurement objective and requirements, externalities, measurement locations, measurement methods and management planning. With a forecasted 410,455 enplaned passengers by 2034, the Lafayette Regional Airport does not need to undergo an air quality assessment subject to the provisions of FAA-EE-82-21 (Air Quality Procedures for Civilian and Air Force Bases), which is required for airports exceeding 1.3 million annual passenger enplanements. Nevertheless, the Lafayette Regional Airport currently faces problems involving air pollution from different transportation mechanisms and the ignition of fuel vapor by lightning, which may damage affected aircrafts.
Given that there is no existing issue with air quality within Lafayette Regional Airport, the succeeding solutions would serve as preemptive measures based on existing air quality protocols. FAA-EE-82-21 must apply in the event Lafayette Regional Airport expands its capacity to 1.3 million annual passenger enplanements. Moreover, measurements arising from the application of the ICAO measurement plan result to the construction of a viable plan for improving the air quality of Lafayette Regional Airport. Solutions aiming to improve the air quality of Lafayette Regional Airport must address both the concerns of said airport on external and internal air quality. Amenable solutions include the introduction of more sustainable modes of public transportation serving the airport and utilization of recovery systems absorbing fuel vapor to prevent aircraft damage through lightning, among many others.
Applying sustainability measures to Lafayette Regional Airport involves considerations on the different transportation mechanisms surrounding it, which includes public transportation modes, private vehicles and ground transport vehicles serving aircrafts. Different transportation mechanisms around Lafayette Regional Airport generate air pollution – a problem this airport sustainability report seeks to emphasize and address.
The improvement of public transportation modes would help lessen air pollution around Lafayette Regional Airport. Preparing more convenient and efficient public transport accommodations for passengers going to Lafayette Regional Airport would lessen their reliance on private vehicles. Afterwards, rising the private vehicle parking prices around the airport is recommendable to incentivize the utilization thereof.
2.5 WATER POLLUTION
The operation of Lafayette Regional Airport generates water pollution through the contamination of drainage systems with substances used for aircrafts and runway surfaces such as fuel, paint and de-icing fluids. Construction and renovation works on the Lafayette Regional Airport also stands to contaminate the water systems around said airport.
Using environment-friendly alternatives may enable the operation of Lafayette Regional Airport to generate lesser water pollution immediately. Moreover, exploring innovations on recycling substances contaminating drainage systems around Lafayette Regional Airport would provide long-term sustainable solutions to water pollution.
4.0 KEY AREAS
4.1 HANDLING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Hazardous materials are those deemed to have physical and chemical attributes that could cause significant environmental damage, particularly when poorly managed. Specific federal-level regulations govern the designation of hazardous materials; 40 CFR 261.31-33 lists down hazardous materials, while 40 CFR 261.21-24 includes those that are deemed toxic or reactive. The use of hazardous materials is generally common among airports of all sizes, given the highly industrialized nature of airport operation. Although Lafayette Regional Airport has no specific issues with hazardous materials, it has to abide by the recommendations in the succeeding section for preemptive preparedness.
Proper management of hazardous materials within Lafayette Regional Airport may prevent the airport from becoming both a source and casualty of the ill effects of poorly managed hazardous materials. Switching to environment-friendly alternatives may significantly reduce disasters related to hazardous materials, while recycling would lessen the need to dispose of hazardous materials towards reusability.
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