Considerations for Environmental Engineering Overseas

Although the modern study of environmental engineering is relatively new, the desire to preserve the environment while improving the quality of human life is as old as humanity itself. In his lecture on the history of this profession, Charles A. Buescher Jr., PE, DEE describes how humans have, throughout time, searched for ways to balance human interests and environmental concerns, from early Egyptian civilizations to ancient Greece to the Roman Empire. Clearly, humans have always possessed a certain sensitivity to the environment, for while it is true that care for nature has become an increasingly global concern over the past several decades, a reverence for our earth can be seen in every civilization and in every era of human history.

This does not mean, however, that every culture approaches the environment in the same way, and it is this understanding that is crucial to global efforts in environmental engineering. A region’s specific needs will play a large role in which programs will be implemented: whether a region is developed or developing, landlocked or coastal, urban or rural – each of these geographic considerations will determine the region’s primary concerns. Furthermore, a culture’s attitude toward the environment and conservation will impact its inclination to begin specific campaigns. For instance, when discussing wastewater treatment systems, this study [PDF] describes varying cultural perceptions of sanitation. The author provides the example of toilet systems and the removal of separation toilets in an ecological village due to cultural differences. Together, these factors will influence the environmental laws in each country, limiting the materials and methods used to complete engineering projects. Another factor that can affect efforts in foreign countries is the political climate; it may be more difficult to begin programs in countries currently experiencing unrest.

It is important to consider each of these concerns as you expand your firm overseas. When doing so, the number one rule every company should follow is to build partnerships with local communities. After all, they know their land best and are the key to a thorough knowledge of the region in which you are considering building. Obviously, identifying potential legal or physical obstructions before beginning a project will save both time and money. In addition, taking care to understand the region’s cultural perspectives on their natural surroundings will help you gain trust and support. Always be conscious of your impact on the local community; think about how your projects will benefit the region, and always be sure to protect the community from exploitation. For more information on how to manage a region’s natural resources responsibly. please click here [PDF].

As always, communication can mean the difference between the success and failure of any project and should be given priority at every stage, from identification to evaluation and execution to maintenance. Do you have any recommendations for environmental engineering firms looking to build overseas? Do you have any experience implementing environmental programs abroad? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments!



Nisar, the dynamic force behind Translation Excellence, stands tall as its founder and CEO. This isn’t just any company—it’s a global heavyweight in boutique language services. Hailing from the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nisar brought his passion and expertise to the U.S. shores in 2001. In the realm of languages, he’s a titan. With 19 years under his belt, he’s worn hats from a linguist and instructor to a cultural bridge-builder and curriculum craftsman.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top