The negative effect of oil spillage on Nigerian cannot be over emphasized, in terms poor crops harvest, aquatic destruction and impact on human health and well-being.
Many factors has been attributed as the causes of oil spillage in Niger-Delta region some of which will be discussed and solution will be proffered to policy makers for better management of the environmental consequences of oil exploration and mining to host communities.
Nigeria as a nation is blessed with abundant natural resources especially energy resources that is enough to drive the country to a sustainable level of economic growth. Crude oil contribute about 80% to Nigeria government revenue.
However, oil exploration despite its contribution to government revenue has some consequential health implication to host communities.
Causes of Oil-Spillage in Nigeria
Natural Causes: Oil spills occur naturally by natural disaster, movement of tectonic plates and also as a result of inadequate trap system. Oil spill can be caused by natural seepage, especially in the ocean, as tectonic plates shift, they may release oil from reserves trapped deep such as drilling beneath the ocean floor.
Human Causes: Oil spills can occur due to manmade reasons which include: carelessness (such as oil bunkering, sabotage and oil siphoning), Oil siphoning, terrorism and accidents (such as tanker accidents and accident during production operation).
The Effect of oil spillage on the host communities
Oil Contamination: When oil spills into the ocean, it’s especially likely to harm animals and plants at two interfaces;
- Near the surface of the water, where water and air meet, and
- Along the shore, where water and land meet.
Mammals get hypothermia, which is a reduction in body temperature which may lead to death of both birds and mammals. Oil spillage often damages mammals liver or lungs poisoning it. It also blind certain animals which reduces their ability to avoid predators and they may this be killed.
The sea birds finds it difficult to fly by becoming heavy once covered in oil slick.
Water Contamination: Stagnant water bodies cause the oil to remain in the environment for long, resulting in prolonged exposure of the plants and animals. This case exposes the animals and humans to lots of health issues and diseases.
Soil contamination: Oil hamper proper soil aeration as oil film on the soil surface acts as a physical barrier between air and the soil such as temperature, structure, nutrient status and pH level. Oiled shoots of crops like pepper and tomatoes may wilt and die off due to blockage of stomata thereby inhibiting photosynthesis, transpiration and respiration.
Effect on Human Health: The main problems with oil spill are the negative effects of ingesting toxic metals. Oil spillage contain significant elements like Cr and Ba detected in oil spill sites of the Gulf war. Skin contact with certain chromium compounds can cause skin ulcers, kidney and liver damage and even death.
Small amounts of water soluble barium may cause a person to experience;
- Breathing difficulties,
- Increased blood pressures,
- Heart rhythm changes,
- Skin ulcer,
- Stomach irritation,
- Muscle weakness,
- Changes in nerve reflexes,
- Swelling of brains and
- Liver, kidney and heart damage.
Serious respiratory problems witnessed in many communities can be linked to environmental pollution. Have read my post on “ How to solve the problem of power failure in Nigeria with renewable energy”
Solution to Oil spillage in Nigeria
Solving the problem of oil spillage start from reducing all form of environmental degradation in by the oil companies and bunkers. Reduction of the incidence of oil spills and other environmental degradation activities. The various methods employed in the removal of oil from the natural environment are usually referred to as clean-up techniques. Some of the techniques includes cleaning with booms and skimmers, use of dispersant, in-site burning, absorption, and other measures. The government and policy makers can adopt the following measures to solve the problem of oil spillage in Nigeria.
- The oil companies operating in Nigeria should be made to enter into a written agreement with the government on what they will do for the state in the case of oil spill and other serious environmental degradation that will reduce effects the indigenes.
- Bill should be made that will set outside 10% of the oil revenue on human capital development from oil producing regions.
- Respiratory and ailment related or associated with oil mining’s should be treated freely in the hospital to improve the living standard of the host communities.
- Establishment of oil spill or gas flaring monitoring team with stock of some firsthand response material like booms, absorbents and tanks to enable them respond quickly and promptly in the case of any occurrence.
- Government in collaboration with the state governors should organize local vigilante to work in hand with the military to control and monitor the oil facility and prevent the cases of oil spills through bunkering.
- Strict measures should be adopted by the government to punish oil bunkers and vandalizers if caught to instill fears on others who would want to engage in such activities.
- The oil industry should be mandated to give scholarship to at least 300 indigenes of host community to study abroad in the areas of drilling, mining’s, and refining to give the society sense of belonging and enjoy the benefit of their natural blessing.
Hey! You have seen the negative impact of oil spillage on the host communities and my recommendations. Let here your opinion on oil spillage in Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.