Environmental engineering, definition, tasks, and importance

Environmental engineering
(Image: © ThisisEngineering RAEng/Unsplash)

Over the years, the environment and sustainable development have become major concerns in the engineering industry. However, it is not a specialization officially recognized; many professionals in the industry practice environmental engineering.

What does this job consist of, and what are its main characteristics?

1. Definition of environmental engineering

Environmental engineering is a set of scientific knowledge, techniques, and practices that consider ecological mechanisms applied to the management of resources, the design, and construction of facilities or equipment. In other words, environmental engineering can ensure the protection of the environment and understand and improve the interactions between human beings and natural environments.

Environmental engineering practice dates back to the dawn of civilization; since groups of people began living in semi-permanent settlements. They have had to deal with the challenges of providing clean water, disposing of solid waste, and wastewater. With the growth of cities and the rise of agriculture and large-scale industrialization, people also had to worry about the quality and nature of air and soil pollution.

2. What does the environmental engineering job consist of?

The environmental engineer’s mission is to put ecology at the service of a space to be safeguarded. He can thus study the impact of major development operations on a given place. He also contributes to the protection of nature on a site open to the public.

He has to protect people from environmental effects such as pollution; environmental engineering consists of improving public health, water, and air pollution control.

In industry, he analyzes and raises awareness of the impact of a product on the environment at all stages of its life cycle. If avoiding ecological disasters is his goal, raising staff awareness of environmental protection is a priority for him. From glassware to petrochemicals to food, the sectors are varied.

The environmental engineer works in design, engineering and consultancy offices, industries and associations, and the public sector (local authorities, research, and education).

In brief, like most engineering industry activities directly or indirectly affect the environment, many engineers from different fields are called upon to put their expertise to use for the sustainable and ecological dimension of engineering.

Related: How can we help in the environmental protection for a better life?

3. Why is environmental engineering important?

Environmental engineering allows us to interact with nature and people, hence setting up efficient and achievable projects for long-term results. Important issues and challenges are present in each project, which requires a good faculty of reflection to be able to associate economic and social realities with biodiversity, which requires a perfect mastery of the field while being in close collaboration with the actors local. Environmental engineering is also involved in creating new economic models while ensuring development through more adequate environmental management that adapts to the uses of the premises.

4. Environmental Engineering; Education and Training

To become and obtain the engineer title, you must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related field (chemical, civil, or general engineering).

Employers also value practical experience. Therefore, cooperative engineering programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable as well.

5. Environmental engineering; Employment sectors

Over the years, environmental engineering and sustainable development have become major concerns in the engineering industry. Many companies, especially large ones, hire engineers specializing in the subject.

There are, therefore, many sectors of employment in the environment. The main ones are industry, energy, construction, shipping, agriculture, urban, forestry, transportation, research and development, and materials.

6. What is the future of environmental engineering?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employing environmental engineers will increase by 15% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average for all jobs.

“The concerns of state and local water government should lead to efforts to increase water use efficiency,” says the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Getting good grades from a highly rated institution should give the job seeker an edge over the competition.

Originally published on Live Positively.