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[2011] Engineer in Society Name: Mohammad Erfan Khalilian ID Number: TP015171 Lecture Name: Mrs. SUBHASHINI A/P
Engineer in Society
Name: Mohammad Erfan Khalilian
ID Number: TP015171
Lecture Name: Mrs. SUBHASHINI A/P
Intake Number: UC4F1101ME
Module Code: EE014-3.5-3-ES-T

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Engineer in Society

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction: ....................................................................................................................................


Literature review: ............................................................................................................................


Ethical Problem Analysis and Discussion:




References: ......................................................................................................................................




Engineer in Society


Engineer in Society


Water pollution is a global problem that is predicted to grow even more in future years. Polluted water is thought of to be one of the leading causes of death and illness worldwide. Although not many people in developed countries suffer as servility, waterways are still often polluted to the point where natural habitats are destroyed and the water is no longer safe for human consumption. There are many types of water pollution ranging from untreated sewage to agricultural runoff. Each of these though can be very detrimental to human health and the environment. There are many ethical issues with water pollution because water pollution is affecting the environment and human health and wellbeing. (Water pollution, 2011)

Engineering responsibility for the environment is necessarily closely related to the laws governing environmental matters.

Professional engineers are bound by their code of ethics to place paramount the health, safety, and welfare of the public. If the "public" includes future people, then the engineer is also morally responsible for not destroying the supporting environment that will make future generations possible.

In this research, we are studying the concept of ethics in engineering and we analyze the scenario which is given by the lecturer. Different ways of facing with the scenario is investigated and the best solution will be presented at the end. As the assignment required reviewing BEM codes, then only BEM codes has concerned in this assignment which is well enough to solve the problem.


Engineer in Society

Literature review:

Historically, several congresses held in order to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters. This is because of making it unlawful for any person, business, or governmental body to discharge any pollutant into navigable waters without a permit. By 1977 all plants were to have installed water pollution control devices that represented the best practicable pollution control technology. Plants discharging conventional pollutants are to apply the best conventional pollutant control technology. Plants discharging toxic or unconventional pollutants are to apply the best available technology economically achievable. (Waterpollutionethic, 2011)

As a result, by having the up-to-dated and highest technology in water treatment systems in chemical processing plants, it is not ethically acceptable for any company to disobey this natural environmental protection. Therefore, related to this scenario, the related code of ethics are reviewed and mentioned during this section which can be applied.

Basically, for involving in any ethical judgment in engineering projects, ethical theories must be reviewed and taken into account which provides the valid framework.

One of the most explicit statements on environmental matters to be found in an engineering code is in the Board of Engineers Malaysia. The first canon of the code commits BEM members: “a registered engineer shall at all time hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.” (Azhar, et al, 2005)

Third and fourth BEM code also related to this scenario which is states “A Registered Engineer shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. A Registered Engineer shall act for each employer or clients as faithful agent or trustee. ” (Azhar, et al, 2005)

In addition while engineer warned by his supervisor then he must follow the another statement by BEM code which commits BEM member :”when the professional advice of professional engineer is overruled and amended contrary to his advice, the professional engineer shall , if the amended may in his opinion give rise to situation that may endanger life and/or


Engineer in Society

property, notify his employer or client and such other authority as may be appropriate and explain the consequences to be expected as a result of his advice being overruled and amended.”

In other hand and In the light of supervisor objections, engineer could propose an approach to the regulation of environmental pollution based on cost/benefit analysis (CBA). CBA is a type of utilitarianism, in that its aim is to maximize human well-being. One aspect of well-being is health, and pollution is a threat to health. (Waterpollutionethic, 2011)

CBA provides an appealing way of resolving conflict problems between the good of reducing pollution and other competing goods which make demands on social resources.

As a result and according to BEM code” a registered engineer shall conduct himself honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation and usefulness of the profession.” (Azhar, et al, 2005)


Engineer in Society

Ethical Problem Analysis and Discussion:

In every stressful engineering situation, every engineer must refer to ethical issues of engineering and follow the rule as an engineer in every case of engineering. This can lead an engineer to make a proper decision about the situation especially while environment and human life is concerned.

By reviewing the code of ethics related to Board of Engineering Malaysia, it is clear that there is a need of to be worry about the wastewater leakage problem and also this is responsibility of every engineer to concern about environment. But now I promoted and transferred to another department, that does not mean I must forget the ethical issues because anyhow I was responsible and in charge of the wastewater treatment system within the plant. Despite if Mr. Ali warned not to disclose the issue to the Department of Environment, but it is the obligation of every engineer to concern about human life and environment.

Firstly I need to find out whether this pollution could really affect on environment or not. I must consider the situation by referring to ethical issues and also CBA analysis. Finally while I surely found out that this is critical situation I must convince Mr. Ali with strong reasons in order to change his mind and noted the brief of analysis in letter as following analysis.

Based on CBA (cost/benefit/analysis) rectification is essentially needed as following analysis:





and determine the amount of pollutant which plant allow

contributing intro environment.


Calculate the cost and benefits; determine the cost of the pollution.


Compare the costs and benefits of regulating the pollution.

This analyzing is just part of CBA but at least it illustrated that there is essential rectification work, even if we do not account the human life the future cost of process proof that it is better to








(Waterpollutionethic, 2011)

too late and damages to environment.


Engineer in Society

At this case as Mr. Ali is worry about the cost of process, I have preferred to write the letter and remind him the problems and threats of chemical pollutant that could affect on human life. In addition remind him the ethical issue which every engineer must follow. If he will not be satisfied by these reasons then as the next strategy, this is my obligation to inform the Department of Environment and ask them to do essential action. This is the only way Mr. Ali will change his mind while he will get receive an order to do so from his higher levels of hierarchy. Therefore, it means that informing the higher levels of corporation in this scene is also considered as one of the code of ethics that each and every engineer must take into consideration.

In addition I noted in letter that there are several problems with this cost-oblivious approach to environmental pollution, even where human health is concerned. First, it tends to produce disrespect for the law and Manufactures must follow the law.

Secondly, in this situation threats to human health is unknown or is in dispute. Some pollutant pose danger to human health than others, and there are other items which must be considered such as jobs and the standard of living.

Whether Mr. Ali accept or not accept the letter and feasible suggestion, I should write the second letter to the in charge person of chemical wastewater from plant and propose my feasible suggestion and application as code of professional conduct for board of engineers in Malaysia which states “A registered Engineer having knowledge of any violation of this code and local authorities regulations shall report thereon to appropriate professional bodies and, when relevant, also to public authorities and cooperate with the proper authorities in furnishing such information or assistance as may be required” (Board of Engineering Malaysia, 2005).

According to the scenario, one of the main problems which cause Mr. Ali not to accept the proposal for rectification work is the cost. It can be concluded that, if in case other noble ideas for rectification works presented by other engineers, maybe it can be useful to solve the problem with less expenses. Therefore, I should consult with other experts who may help to come out with better ideas and methods to solve the problem.


Engineer in Society


It is important to note that this attempt to avoid tragic choices is not being less ethically responsible, but more ethically responsible. This is because such an approach would satisfy more moral demands. In this case, if the engineer is successful, he would not only have protected the environment by means of a change in a company policy, but he would also have satisfied a legitimate moral obligation to himself by saving his job.

Another conception of responsibility is a rule-following sense, referring to socially expected behavior associated with certain roles. In this sense also engineers have responsibility for the environment, for many members of the public expect engineers to assume this responsibility.

Secondly, the engineering profession could make a substantial contribution to the protection of the environment. Engineers are, after all, major participants in virtually all of the projects that affect the environment for good or ill. If even a substantial number of concerned engineers refused to contribute their professional skills to some of the most environmentally destructive projects, the result might well be the cancellation of the projects or at least a modification of them so they will produce less environmental devastation.

In this research the BEM codes which are related to this situation has reviewed and analyzed according to the problem. Therefore as a result for every technical or moral situation engineers must follow the ethical issues in order to establish the job as well.


Engineer in Society



Azhar, H.,





and Hock, S. (2005) Engineer in

Society, 2 nd edition,

Malaysia: McGraw-Hill Deborah G. Johnson, Ethical Issues in Engineering, 1st Ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1991.

Electronic source and Journals:

Baxter, William F., People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution, New York: Columbia University Press, 1974.

Bonine, John E., The Law Of Environmental Protection: Cases -- Legislation -- Policy, St. Paul:

West Publications, 1984.

Findley, Roger W., Environmental Law in a Nutshell, St. Paul: West Publications, 1983.

Petulla Joseph M., "Environmental Management in Industry" in Albert Flores, ed., Ethics and Risk Management in Engineering, Lanham, Md: University Press of America, 1989.

Waterpollutionethic, 2011, ethical issue for water pollution [online], Available at https://sites.google.com/site/2011waterpollutionethics/home, [Accessed 1 st August 2011]