MANAGEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH HAZARDS IN BAYELSA STATE’S OIL PRODUCTION AREAS
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as an individual’s complete physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, rather than the absence of diseases or infirmity (WHO, 1964). According to Ogbimi (2009), almost everything in the environment has an impact on an individual.
Similarly, health is an individual’s perfect state of physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Because health is viewed as an environmentally influenced state of well-being, it is necessary to consider people’s health as being directly influenced by their immediate environment.
Environmental health is a subfield of public health concerned with all aspects of the natural and physical environment that may have an impact on human health. It is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as those aspects of the human body, (human health), and disease that are determined by environmental factors (wikipedia, 2007).
The direct pathological agents and the effects on health and well-being of the broad physical, psychological, social, and aesthetic environment, which includes housing, urban development, land use, and transportation, have been the focus of environmental health. Hazardous materials, pollution, disaster, prehardness, food safety, waste management, and occupational health are all part of the scope of environmental health.
The impact of oil spills on the health of members in host communities where multinationals conduct massive oil drilling or exportation activities is one area of interest for researchers. The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has the highest concentration of such facilities.
According to Alagoa (1999) and Ekiyor (2006), the Niger Delta encompasses 70, 000 km2 of wet lands. It has a population of 20 million people and 40 ethnic groups, as well as diverse mangrove swamp forests, fresh water swamps, and low land rain forests. Dabbs (2006), on the other hand, stated that pollution from oil spills and gas flares affects both ecosystems and people.
Oil spills during petroleum exploration have poisoned this country’s waters and destroyed vegetation and agricultural land in the Niger Delta. However, since the discovery of the oil industry in Nigeria more than thirty years ago, there has been no serious and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the oil operators, to control the environmental and health hazards associated with the industry.
According to Sola (2002), the worst type of pollution in Lagos State today, as well as riverine cities in Nigeria such as Bayelsa, is oil. In other words, he warned that potential oil company pollution of land and water poses a serious problem for oil-producing areas.
Between 1976 and 1996, an estimated 89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled into the Niger Delta region (Nwilo, 2009). The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) estimates that 2,300 cubic meters of oil spills are injected into the environment each year. These estimates raise serious concerns about the host communities’ environmental health.
1.1 THE STUDY’S BACKGROUND
Brass Local Government Area is one of eight local governments in Bayelsa State that are major oil producers. Bayelsa State, with a population of approximately two million people, ranks among the top oil and gas producing areas in the country, accounting for more than 30 percent of total Nigerian oil production.
The state is riddled with oil wells. According to Jonathan (2003), oil exploration in Bayelsa State has increased since 1956, when oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in Oloibiri. Brass Local Government Area, which is the subject of this case study, is home to Agip Oil facilities in Town Brass, an Ijaw community that also serves as the state’s Brass Local Government headquarters.
Oil exploration grants such as Shell, Chevron, and Texaco all have flow stations in other local governments, and the study will investigate the management and control of health hazards resulting from oil spillage in the area.
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
Oil spillage has been a source of contention between communities and multinational corporations since the discovery of oil at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State. According to a NOSDRA report from 2010, there were 3,203 oil spills in the Niger Delta. Between January 2006 and June 2010, the expansion of the country’s oil industry resulted in significant environmental health hazards in oil-producing areas of Bayelsa State.
Statistics paint a hazy picture of oil spills, which occur almost monthly. According to World Bank reports, the true amount of petroleum spilled into the environment is underestimated (World Bank, 1995).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), environmental hazards are responsible for roughly one-quarter of the total global disease burden, and nearly 359 in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organization, improving the environment can prevent up to 13 million deaths (WHO, 2010).
The level of public outrage and disaffection among residents of oil-producing areas is directly related to the level of health hazards posed by oil spills. Despite growing government concern, accounts of research work done show that there is still insufficient 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 falls short are poverty alleviation and the possibility of increasing disease burden, which is the center of agitation among people who live around oil exploration areas in Niger Delta.
Much of the health consequences of oil spillage have remained unknown. Health risks are not well documented, and there appears to be insufficient health management apparatus to combat the growing burden of oil exploration activities in coastal areas. Recent oil spills in Brass Local Government, where the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NADC) operates, which were reported in May 2009, have raised additional concerns, making it an ideal study area.
According to Ndubuisi and Asai (2007), despite growing concerns about the harm done to people’s health and various efforts to control the maintenance of oil spills, little has been done to mitigate the health risks posed by oil spills.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.4 THE STUDY’S IMPORTANCE
Environmental health research is ongoing, but this study will increase the capacity of research in the field of providing policymakers with legal framework material for law making. The government will also implement cost-effective and empowering methods of managing health hazards.
The academic will also be enlightened in this rarely investigated field of interest. The majority of research is conducted for the benefit of those who live and thrive in oil-producing regions. It is essential that the research findings contribute to the resolution of some of the health issues in the study area.
In the study area, there is no significant relationship between health hazards and oil spills.
H1: In the study area, there is a significant difference between health hazards and oil spills.
HO: There is no significant relationship between oil spill management levels and human health.
H1: There is a significant relationship between the level of oil spill management and human health.
HO: There is no significant relationship between oil spills and human disease burden.
H1: There is a significant relationship between oil spills and human disease burden.
1.5 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
1. What is the level of oil spill management in the study area?
2. What precautions are taken to reduce the health risks posed by oil spills?
3. Who are the stakeholders in the study area’s management effort?
4. What are the most common health risks associated with oil spills in the study of man?
1.6 STUDY OBJECTIVES
The study was designed and organized to include a thorough examination of environmental health risks in oil-producing areas. The scope of the research is also limited to oil spillage because it interferes with the researcher’s human focus. As a result, gas flaring, another byproduct of oil exploration, is largely ignored.
1.7 TERMS DEFINITION
To avoid ambiguity, the following terms will be defined as they are used in this research context.
Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling the efforts of an organization and its members in order to achieve set goals.
The environment is the sum of all external and internal conditions that affect the survival, growth, and well-being of organisms or one’s surroundings or external circumstances collectively.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not simply the absence of disease or infirmity. Furthermore, it is the state of a person’s body, mind, or state of being physically and mentally sound, or a condition in which they are free from illness, or the state of being well to be in good or poor health.
Hazards: Something that is dangerous and likely to harm an organism, animal, or human being’s health.
Exploration: The act of discovering, examining, and making the best use of something.
Oil exploration is the act of discovering or searching for oil in the ground in order to exploit its utility.
Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation is abbreviated as NNPC.
MEHH stands for Modern Environmental Health Hazards.
WHO stands for World Health Organization.
EHH stands for Environmental Health Hazards.
Water pollution is caused by the release of large amounts of carbon monoxide and ethane from flow stations, which pollute the water in oil-producing communities in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta.
NADC stands for Nigeria Agip Oil Company.
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