Microbial Air Quality Of Toilet Environment
This project presents a study of MAQ in toilets located in the Faculty of Civil Engineering building, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). This study was conducted to determine the level of gas pollutants that exist in the male and female toilets. The important MAQ parameters considered in this study are SO2, NO, and Microbial Air. The measurements were conducted during break hour and taken using air quality monitoring. The result indicated that SO2 exceeded the threshold value and this could have adverse effect on inhalation such as asthmatic. Finally, the existing SO2 was affected by mechanical ventilation mode, while the existing Microbial air was more generated in female toilet.
1.1 Background of Study
A toilet is a sanitation fixture used for storing or disposal of human urine and faeces. (Oxford Dictionary, 1997). In developed countries, different forms porcelain flush toilets are common. Seats are usually used in west while squat toilets are common in East Asia. These are connected to sewer system in most urban areas and to septic tanks in less built-up areas.
Toilet is also one of public facilities, which is frequently used by people and located indoor. In recent years, Scientist and public have put much concern about microbial air quality in toilet systems. Several studies have found out that indoor air pollution levels to be greater than outdoor levels (USEPA, 2001). Thus it is risky to health posed by indoor air pollution than those posed by outdoor air pollution. Therefore maintaining good air quality in toilet is essential in order to keep it hygienic and sanitary. This is aligned with the statement mentioned by Wike, “in order to create a healthier and safer environment, the first step is the wash room”. In an environment, spores of molds and bacteria may become air borne and are therefore ubiquitous. They can enter indoor areas either by means of ventilation systems. The relative humidity and/or the moisture content of the materials determines that to what extent different micro-organism are able to grow on indoor. (Dhanasekaran et al., 2009).
These may cause destruction, adverse health effects and unpleasant odors. Therefore the task of microbial examinations is to differentiate between normal indoor microorganisms which may cause adverse health effects (Madukasi et al., 2010).
Air sampling of microorganisms is a popular method of conducting microbial examinations, as it allows a direct toxicological evaluation. Specific activities like talking, sneezing, coughing and toilet flushing can generate air borne biological particulate matter and occasionally release spores of Altenaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Scopulariopsis into air (Maeir et al., 2002).Indoor air pollution can be as much more worse than that of outdoor air, it can cause wide range of health problems
1.2 Statement of Problem
Toilet is one of public facilities, which is frequently used by people and located indoor. Therefore, maintaining good air quality in toilet is essential in order to keep it hygienic and sanitary.
This is aligned with the statement mentioned by Wilke , ”In order to create a healthier and safer environment, the first step is in the washroom.”
Numerous studies have been previously conducted regarding to indoor air in toilets are as follows, Nakajima et al , studied on evaluation of odour from portable toilets in a four-bed hospital ward. A portable toilet is used for patients who cannot use a toilet by themselves. In his study, all the patients in the ward used a conventional portable toilet for four consecutive days, and then an odourless portable toilet for six consecutive days. The results show that in comparison with the conventional portable toilet, the odourless portable toilet could reduce pollutants level of existing gases such as 14% of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), 30% of ammonia (NH3), 58% in chemicals of light molecular weight and 44% in chemicals of heavy molecular weight. From these results, it can be concluded that the ambient odour in the hospital ward was significantly improved by using the odourless portable toilet. Furthermore, Jung et al , studied flush toilet cleanliness in Raffles Girl’s School (RGS). The results found that the wetness of the toilets, the lack of litter bins and refuse lids, and the lack of ownership in toilets are the most contributors to the problem of hygiene and dirtiness of the school toilets. These automatically impacted the IAQ of the RGS toilets.
1.3 Research Objectives
- To determine the level of gas pollutants that exists in toilets in UNN
- To determine the existing SO2 concentrations on selected toilets in UNN
- To identify the health effect of S02 concentrations in toilets in UNN
1.4 test of Hypothesis
H01: There is a possibility of occurrence asthmatic symptoms due to the number of existing microbial air in toilets.
H02: Female toilets have the highest influence to the existing microbial air than male toilets.
1.5 Scope of Study
The research work is based on microbial air quality of public restrooms. This research specifically investigated the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu toilet environment.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In this study, microbial air quality parameters such as Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitric Oxide (NO), and also Carbon Dioxide (MICROBIAL AIR) were measured to determine the level of gas pollutants exist in the selected toilets at Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering of UNN. Based on the measurement results, it can be drawn a few conclusions as follows:
- The existing SO2 concentrations on selected toilets found as a factor which could have adverse health effect such as asthmatic.
- Mechanical ventilation in this study was found as a factor that most contributes to the number of existing SO2, while the number of existing MICROBIAL AIR was mostly affected by female toilets based on independent samples T-test analysis.
- Mechanical ventilation in selected toilets is one of the sources that could have lead to asthmatic symptoms due to the number of existing SO2 thatwas affected by mechanical ventilation mode.
- Ultimately, the behaviour of toilet users also affected the level of microbial air quality within toilet. For example, not flushing properly, smoking, and throw cigarettes in toilet.
The following are recommended:
- It is also recommended that fume hoods be installed in the laboratories that are without fume hoods such as the Chemistry Lab I hood. This is to take care of the gaseous pollutants from combustion activities.
- Adequate provision and maintenance of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system of the laboratories particularly the fume hoods.
- The school authority as a matter of urgency should try and construct new laboratories to address the challenges from congestion in the laboratories. This will also help in accommodating the teaching and learning of the students enrolled.
- Creation of awareness on the deadly health consequences of individuals exposure to combustion indoor pollutants among staff and students within the institution and even in the general public
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