Management Of Environmental Health Hazard In The Oil Producing Areas Of Bayelsa State

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Management Of Environmental Health Hazard In The Oil Producing Areas Of Bayelsa State


Abstract


1956 oil was first struck in commercial qualities in Oloibiri in the present day Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Accordingly, the discovery of oil has brought economic prospect to the nation and environmental degradation to the lives of the people who lived around multinational oil companies, where oil exploration activities is carried out.

  • The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) estimated that about 2, 300 cubic meters of crude oil are jettisoned into the environment yearly thus causing oil spills in Nigeria.
  • To guide this study, four research questions were raised while four hypotheses were formulated and tested.
  • The research design was survey method using simple random method four hundred (400) indigenes of Bayelsa were selected for the study.
  • The instrument for data collection were questionnaire and observation. Simple percentage was used to analyze the data obtained.
  • The data analysis revealed that oil spillage affects health of the people.
  • The agricultural output of the people are decreasing annually as a result of oil spillage in the environment destroying soil fertility.

Scarcity of water even when Bayelsa State is an island as a result of water pollution. In conclusion it reveals that nothing or less has been done to the suffering of the people of Bayelsa State. When there is an outbreak of oil spillage in the community. There is no potable water for the people when their source of drinking water is polluted they have no alternative of other source of drinking water.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of individual and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity (WHO, 1964). Ogbimi (2009) holds that an individual is affected by almost everything in the environment. Equally, health is the perfect state of the individual in his physical, mental, social and emotionally well being. Health is seen as an environmentally influenced state of well being, hence it becomes necessary to look at the health of people as directly influenced by their immediate environment.

Environmental health is a branch of public health that is concerned with all aspect of the natural and physical environment which may affect human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined it as those aspects of the human body, (human health) and disease that are determined by factors in the environment (wikipedia, 2007). The focus of environmental health has been the direct pathological agents and the effects in health and well being of the broad physical, psychological, social and aesthetic environment which include housing, urban development, land use and transportation. The scope of environmental health include hazardous materials, pollution, disaster, prehardness, food safety, waste management and occupational health. One aspect of interest to researchers is the environmental health as the impact of oil spills on the health of members in host communities where multinationals carry out huge oil drilling or exportation activities. An area with largest concentration of such facilities in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria. Alagoa (1999) and Ekiyor (2006) the Niger Delta covers 70, 000 km2 within wet lands. It is home to 20 million people and 40 different ethnic groups with diverse mangrove swamp forests, fresh water swamps, and low land rain forests. Dabbs (2006 however put it that the ecosystems as well as the individuals are at the receiving end of pollutants from oil spills and gas flares.

Niger Delta has witnessed the poisoning of the waters of this country and destruction of vegetation and agricultural land by oil spills which occur during petroleum exploration. But since the discovery of the oil industry in Nigeria, more than thirty years ago, there has been no concerned and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the oil operators to control environmental health hazards associated with the industry. Sola (2002) expressed that in Lagos State today as well the riverine cities in Nigeria such as Bayelsa, the worst type of pollution is oil. In other words, he warned that potential pollution from the oil companies to land and water poses very serious problem to the oil producing areas. Estimate shows that 89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled into Niger Delta region between 1976 and 1996 (Nwilo, 2009). The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) puts the quantity of petroleum injected into the environment yearly at 2, 300 cubic meters of oil spills annually. These estimates raise grave concerns for the environmental health of host communities.


1.1 Background of the Study

Brass Local Government Area is one of the eight local government in Bayelsa State which is a major force in the production of oil. Bayelsa State with an estimated population of about two million people ranks amongst the top of oil and gas producing areas of the country contributing over 30% Nigerian’s total oil production. Oil wells are scattered across the State. Jonathan (2003) recalled that since 1956 when oil was first struck in commercial quantities in Oloibiri, oil exploration has been in the increase in Bayelsa State. Brass Local Government Area which is the area of a case study is host to Agip Oil facilities located in Town Brass an Ijaw community which also serves as head quarters of the Brass Local Government of the State. Oil exploration grants such as Shell, Chevron, Texaco all have flow stations in other local government has had its fair share of oil spills in the recent past hence the study will investigate the management and control of health hazards resulting from oil spillage in the area.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Oil spillage has been the bone of contention between communities and multinational companies dating back to when oil was first struck at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State. A report by (NOSDRA) as at 2010 puts oil spills in the Niger Delta at 3, 203. between the period January 2006 and June 2010, the growth of the country’s oil industry has led to substantial environmental health hazards in oil producing areas in Bayelsa State. Statistics paint a grain picture of oil spillage which occur almost on a monthly basis. The World Bank on its reports argued that the true quantity of petroleum spilled into the environment is underestimated (World Bank, 1995). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), environmental hazards are responsible for about a quarter of the total burden of diseases world wide and nearly 359 in regions such as Sub-Sahara Africa. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 13 million deaths can be prevented by making the environment healthier (WHO, 2010).

Health hazards emanating from oil spills is directly linked to the level of public outery and disaffection among the inhabitants of oil producing areas. Despite growing concern from the government there still appear from accounts of research work done, inadequate data and information as well as appropriate policies to manage the challenges (Onokeroraye, 2001) some findings released showed that the two key areas where intervention fall short are poverty alleviation and possibility of enhancement of diseases burden which is the centre of agitations of people who live around oil exploration area in Niger Delta. Much of the health implications of oil spillage have remained a matter of conjecture. Health hazards are not well documented and there appears to be inadequate health management apparatus to combat the over increasing burden in the coastal regions on oil exploration activities. Recent oil spills in Brass Local Government where the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NADC) operates has several oil facilities which was reported in the month of May, 2009 has raised further concerns making it an idea study area for the study.

According to Ndubuisi and Asai (2007) despite increasing concerns from the damages caused to the health of individuals and the various efforts at the control of the maintenance of oil spills, little has been done to migrate the health hazards emanating from oil spills.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The study aims to determine and ascertain health hazards from oil spillage in the study area which is Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.


1.4 Significance of the Study

Studies in environmental health are ongoing, however this research study will increase the capacity of research in the field of providing policy makers a legal framework material for law making. Government will also adopt practical means of managing health hazards which is cost effective and empowering. The academic will also be enlightened in this field of interest which is not often looked into. Research is largely for the benefit of those who live and thrive in oil producing regions. It is necessary that the findings of the research will contribute to remedy some of the health problems in the study area.


1.4 Hypothesis

  1. HO: there is no significant relationship between health hazards and oil spills in the study area.
    H1: there is a significant difference between health hazards and oil spills I the study area.
  2. HO: there is no significant relationship between the levels of management of oil spills and the health of people.
    H1: there is a significant relationship between level of management of oil spills and the health of the people.
  3. HO: there is no significant relationship between oil spillage and the disease burden of the people.
    H1: there is a significant relationship between oil spillage and the disease burden of the people.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. What is the level of management of oil spillage in the area of study?
  2. What measures are put in place to mitigate the health hazards from oil spillage?
  3. Who are the stakeholders in the management effort in the study area?
  4. What are the common health hazards from oil spills in the study of man?

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study has been designed and organized to include a comprehensive analysis of environmental health hazards in oil producing areas. The research is also reduced in scope to oil spillage, as it affects the human focus of the researcher. Hence, gas flaring which is another by-product of oil exploration is largely neglected.


1.7 Definition of Terms

To avoid ambiguity, the following terms will be defined as used in this context of research work.

Management:

This is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of an organization and members using all the organizational resources to achieve set goals.

Environment:

This is the aggregate of all external and internal conditions as it affects the existence, growth and welfare of organisms or one’s surrounding or external circumstance collectively.

Health:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Furthermore, it is the condition of a person’s body, mind or state of being physically and mentally sound or a condition of the degree of which it is free from illness or the state of being well to be in a good or poor health.

Hazards:

This is something that is dangerous and likely to cause damage to the health of an organism, animal or human being.

Exploration:

The act of finding something and examining it and making the best use of it.

Oil Exploration:

The act of finding or searching for oil in the ground in order to make use of its usefulness.

NNPC:

Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.

MEHH:

Modern Environmental Health Hazards.

WHO:

World Health Organization.

EHH:

Environmental Health Hazards.

Water Pollution:

This is the emitting of huge amount of carbon monoxide and ethane from the flow stations and pollute water in the oil producing communities in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta.

NADC:

Nigeria Agip Oil Company.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the management of environmental health hazard in the oil producing areas of Bayelsa state. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.’


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was onmanagement of environmental health hazard in the oil producing areas of Bayelsa state.Specifically, the study focused on assessing the level of management of oil spillage in the area of study, determining the measures are put in place to mitigate the health hazards from oil spillage, finding out the stakeholders in the management effort in the study area, and determine the common health hazards from oil spills in the study of man. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 400 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondentsare residents of Brass LGA, in Bayelsa State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that;

  1. The level of management of oil spillage in the area of study is low.
  2. The measures are put in place to mitigate the health hazards from oil spillage include:
    1. Reduction of the use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers,
    2. Proper disposal of waste
    3. Ensure minimal use of bleach or detergents and
    4. Treatment of water
  3. The stakeholders in the management effort in the study area include:
    1. Government representatives
    2. Businesses
    3. Scientists and
    4. Landowners

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Environmental education should be enshrined in the school curriculum from primary to tertiary institutions to inculcate in the masses environmental friendly attitudes. Such environmental education should equally be carried out through the traditional media so as to carry along both the literate and illiterate ones in the quest for a healthy environment.
  2. Oil industries operating in the country should ensure regular maintenance of their equipment to avoid equipment failure and ruptures capable of spewing thousands of barrels of oil unto the land and under ground waters. In case of oil spill, immediate clean up of the environment should be carried out while processes of remediation should commence without delay.
  3. Residents should avoid illegal activities such as bunkering and artisanal refining which are major causes of water pollution in the area. Also, they should avoid sabotaging oil facilities in the area bearing in mind that in case of oil spill it is them that suffers the consequences. Dialogue with oil industries operating in the area should be their watchword in case of threatening situations

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