Researchers and engineers use various methods in order to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and processes. One of the most popular approaches is life-cycle assessment which is often used by modern companies and environmental agencies. However, there are other tools that can be adopted.
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This paper is aimed at discussing such techniques as Fuzzy Arithmetic and Leopold Matrix since they can help engineers take more informed decisions. These are the main issues that should be examined. Overall, one can say that each of these tools is supposed to present numerical representation of various environmental changes or risks. This is the main argument that can be made.
One of the methods used by companies is called Fuzzy Arithmetic. It is based on the assumption one can see the relationship between a certain product or process and certain environmental changes (Hanss, 2005). It should be noted that many of existing techniques are useful in those cases when it is possible to quantify the environmental effects.
For example, one can speak about such parameters as the emission of carbon dioxides or the consumption of water (Morris, 2009, p. 45). However, in many cases, environmental impacts are not easily quantifiable, for instance, one can mention such as an indicator landscape quality. So, Fuzzy Arithmetic can be used when it is necessary to analyze the responses of people who may be affected by the environmental impacts (Shepard, 2005, p. 125).
This tool is based on the so-called fuzzy logic allows to measure and quantify the opinions and attitudes of people (Shepard, 2005, p. 125). So, this is one of the approaches that one can adopt in order to assess different technologies or products. Another technique that should be analyzed is called Leopold Matrix.
It is supposed to evaluate the impact of various manufacturing processes or other human activities on the environment (Bhatnagar, 2009, p. 116). This tool focuses on several dependent variables such as air quality, noise, erosion, flora, forests, and other indicators (Bhatnagar, 2009, p. 116). This tool is useful because it shows how a certain project can affect various aspects of the environment.
This technique can be adopted by a company when it implements new technologies (Wathern, 1990, p. 50). This tool is often adopted by environmental agencies when they make independent assessments. There are some features that these tools have in common. First of all, both of them are aimed at quantifying various environmental impacts.
They are supposed to provide data on the basis of which one can evaluate the influence of human activities on nature. However, one should bear in mind that Leopold Matrix is a more comprehensive tool because it shows a single activity can produce various environmental effects. In contrast, Fuzzy Arithmetic usually measures the relations between two variables.
These differences should be considered when one has to choose a specific method. These examples indicate that there are different tools for the purposes of environmental evaluation. There are several important issues that can be identified. In some cases, environmental changes cannot be easily quantified. This is one of the reasons why such a tool as Fuzzy Arithmetic is employed.
Additionally, a product, technology, or production processes can lead to various changes in flora, fauna, air quality and so forth. Therefore, Leopold Matrix can often be beneficial. Each of these tools can serve the needs of engineers and scientists.
Bhatnagar, K. (2009). Enviromental Management: New Directions for the 21st Century. Delhi: Global India Publications.
Hanss, M. (2005). Applied Fuzzy Arithmetic: An Introduction with Engineering Applications. New York: Springer.
Morris, P. (2009). Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment. New York: Routledge.
Shepard, R. (2005). Quantifying Environmental Impact Assessments Using Fuzzy Logic. London: Springer.
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Wathern, P. (1990). Environmental Impact Assessment: Theory and Practice. Boston: Routledge.