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Slow death from pollution: potential health hazards from air quality in the mgbede oil fields of southsouth Nigeria

Open Access Journal of Science
Clinton-Ezekwe Ijeoma Catherine,1 Ezekwe Ifeanyichukwu Clinton,2 Raimi Morufu Olalekan,3 OSU Ikenna Charles4

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Background: Today, pollution is a serious issue that threatens the health of billions of people, weakens the economic security of nations, and is to blame for a significant portion of the world’s burden of disease, disability, lost productivity, medical expenses, and costs associated with ecosystem damage and premature death. However, despite their enormous size, these expenses are often hidden and frequently go unnoticed as a result of pollution. This has the effect of preventing the entire costs of pollution from being understood, often going uncounted, and being used to counteract economic arguments which are biased towards pollution control.
Objectives: This study investigated air quality in the Mgbede Oil Fields of South-south Nigeria.
Methods: Air quality sampling points were selected purposefully to meet the objectives of the study. Portable Real-Time Monitoring Technique was used was used for measurement.
Results: From the analysis of air samples, cadmium (0.005-0.008 µg/m3 ) and lead (0.012ug/ m3 ) were detected within the vicinity of the gas flare. Nickel was in the range <0.002 to 0.014 µg/m3 with highest concentrations in the gas flare area. Total suspended particles were within acceptable limits (120 ug/m3 ) in all locations with PM10 component above standards in the vicinity of the gas flare (20.6-22.6 ug/m3 ). Zinc was in the range <0.002 to 0.014 ug/m3 with maximum concentrations around the gas flare site. Although these concentrations are well within the acceptable daily exposure range but could be associated with exacerbations in risks of paediatric asthma. NOx ranged between 0.038-0.058 ug/m3 in the study area and falls above standards (0.04 ug/m3 ) in over 80% of sampled locations. Highest concentrations (0.058 ug/m3 ) were found around the flare area. SO2 was only detected at concentrations above acceptable limits within the gas flare site at Ebocha.
Conclusion: The study therefore concluded that air quality in the area is not only negatively influenced by continuous gas flaring but occur at levels above acceptable international standards where environmental health could be adversely affected. Relocation of all homesteads within 1km radius of the gas flare with adequate compensation for inhabitants with improvement in healthcare delivery; and the establishment of a special health insurance trust fund for long-term exposure to pollutants from oil producing activities are among recommendations. Additionally, since this public health issue necessitates environmental health policies to reduce air pollution, efforts to battle the massive air pollution issues in the Niger Delta and its environmental quality must be combined by worldwide mitigation.


air pollution, ruantified risk factor, environmental health, gas flaring, heavy metals, oxides, paediatric asthma, PAHs