THE EFFECT OF QUARRYING ACTIVITIES ON THE ENVIRONMENT (A CASE STUDY OF BWARI AREA COUNCIL, ABUJA FCT)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Environmental hazards resulting from quarrying activities dates back to 1890's (BGS, 2010). The main issues of concern include visual impairment, damage to landscapes, traffic, smoke, noise, dust, damage to caves, loss of land, and deterioration in water quality (Iqbal and Shafig, 2010; Mate, 2012; Montgomery, 2012). The government has adopted environmental safety laws and edicts of several nations to protect the environment from hazards related to quarrying activities. However, operators of quarries, most especially in developing nations have abused these laws either to maximize profit or simply due to blithe attitude. Such abuse is permeating in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Quarrying activity provides much of the materials used in traditional hard flooring, such as granite, limestone, marble, sandstone, slate and even just clay to make ceramic tiles. However, like many other man-made activities (anthropogenic factors), quarrying activities cause significant impact on the environment (Okafor, 2016). In particular, it is often necessary to blast rocks with explosives in order to extract material for processing but this method of extraction gives rise to noise pollution, air pollution, damage to biodiversity and habitat destruction. Dust from quarry sites is a major source of air pollution, although the severity will depend on factors like the local microclimate conditions, the concentration of dust particles in the ambient air, the size of the dust particles and their chemistry, for example limestone quarries produce highly alkaline (and reactive) dusts, whereas coal mines produce acidic dust. The air pollution is not only a nuisance (in terms of deposition on surfaces) and possible effects on health, in particular for those with respiratory problems but dust can also have physical effects on the surrounding plants, such as blocking and damaging their internal structures and abrasion of leaves and cuticles, as well as chemical effects which may affect long-term survival (Guach, 2010). Unfortunately, quarrying involves several activities that generate significant amounts of noise. The excavation of the mineral itself involves considerable noise, particularly if blasting methods are used. Following this, the use of powered machinery to transport the materials as well as possibly processing plants to crush and grade the minerals, all contribute even more noise to the environment. Such extraction of raw materials from their natural habitats by mining, drilling, harvesting and those that relate to large scale water resources development projects, construction, agriculture, energy, industry and development projects, considerably affect the natural environment (Fedra et al., 2013). Industries have generated a surge of interest among environmentalists and planners who are interested in the environmental impacts of industries. In recent years, scholars such as Scott (2016) and Pallen (2013) have tried to analyze the correlation between environmental damage and the growth of industries particularly in developing countries where the growth has been phenomenal. According to Scott (2016), the environmental impacts of the industries in the developing world have tended to be ignored. Although the promotion of such enterprises is seen as a way to provide employment and incomes, there is little evidence available on environmental impact and sustainability of such industries to guide decision makers. In his investigation of impacts of the industries in urban environment in India, Pallen (2013) asserts that although many firms are resourceful in many respects they can also be very environmentally problematic. When engaged in industrial activity they create more pollution per unit of investment because they operate in poorer, more populous neighbourhoods, this pollution can have more disastrous consequences (Aribigbola et al, 2012). Quarrying products are increasingly demanded for industrial, domestic, agricultural and other purposes so as to satisfy the needs of the rapidly growing population. Quarrying operations generally involve removal of overburden, drilling, blasting and crushing of rock materials. The various impacts produced by these operations are both size and locations dependent. Manifestations of specific impacts are on the air, water, soil, earth surface, flora and fauna, and human beings (Areola, 2012). Apart from land degradation, other negative impacts of quarrying includes swamp creation, deterioration of ground water, erosion of soil, noise and percussions from rock blasting, generation of dust, smoke and fumes; production of noxious gases and ground vibration. Suspended particulate matter is quite outstanding among all pollutants emanating from quarrying operations (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2014).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Quarrying activities has led to development of infrastructure, created employment opportunities, growth of towns and has contributed to the establishment of various industries. Quarrying activities have also lead to environmental damage (Siachoono 2015). There are two reasons why land degradation generally results from mineral extraction: first is industrial development and secondly short term economic benefits such as reaching production goals and employment. The quarrying activity has affected the environment in both negative and positive ways. Scholars in different parts of the world have tried to carry out research in order to identify how this activity has impacted the environment ((Adekoya, 2013; Ajakaiye, 2011; Kibet, 2014) The benefits of the quarrying activity should trickle down to the people living in the neighbouring area; this can be in form of good roads and other infrastructure. According to (Aigbedion 2013) the benefits of quarrying include socio-economic development and growth due to internal revenue and/or foreign exchange earnings. This study attempts to establish the positive effects of quarrying on the environment in Bwari Area Council. The study area is characterized with poor roads especially the one leading to the quarry site, contrary to what is expected due to the presence of the quarries in the area. There is need therefore to establish why that is the case. Studies have been carried out by different scholars in relation to quarrying, Kibet (2014) carried out a research on environmental problems associated with sand mining. He looked at how the sand mining affects the environment and the working conditions of the sand miners. Charles (2013) carried out a research about different types of mining that is used in the sand mining industries and mainly the effects of sand mining to the health of the workers, Mweni (2013) investigated extend of quarry worker welfare and Otieno (2016) researched on the quarrying in Kayole and its contribution to defects in adjacent residential building. These scholars have carried out research in Kangudo and Kayole areas which related to quarrying activity in different areas but this study focused on the effect of quarrying activity in Bwari Area Council Division with special emphasis on its effects on the environment, both human and physical. Quarrying activities in Nigeria has caused significant impact on the environment, the blasting rocks with explosives in order to extract material for processing gives rise to noise pollution, air pollution, damage to biodiversity and habitat destruction which affect the human environment of a particular area Okafor (2016). If a comparison is made between the two cases, is this the same case as the Bwari Area Council area where several quarries are in operation? There are several pieces of legislation that governs the quarrying industry for example The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2017 and Environmental Management Coordination Act 1990. They give guidelines that are to be used in the mining industry such as the level of noise, the vibrations and protective clothing for the workers in different workplace. This study attempts to establish whether the relevant provisions of the Acts are observed in the study area. The main focus of the study is to identify the effect of quarrying activity to the environment with emphasis to Bwari Area Council District. The study intends to find out if the problems experienced in other areas where quarrying is taking place apply to the study area.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the effect of quarrying activities on the environment. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the level of quarrying activities in the study area
2. To examine the effects of quarry activities on the physical and socio-economic aspects of residents in the study area
3. To assess the environmental challenges of quarrying activities on the workers and residents in the study area
4. To examine the relationship between quarrying activities and environmental hazards in the study area
5. To examine mitigation measures adopted in order to ameliorate the effects of quarrying activities.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of quarrying activities in the study area?
2. What are the effects of quarry activities on the physical and socio-economic aspects of residents in the study area?
3. What are the environmental challenges of quarrying activities on the workers and residents in the study area?
4. What is the relationship between quarrying activities and environmental hazards in the study area?
5. What are the mitigations measures adopted in order to ameliorate the effects of quarrying activities?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of quarry activities on the environment in the study area.
H1: There is a significant effect of quarry activities on the environment in the study area.
H0: There is no significant relationship between quarrying activities and environmental hazards in the study area.
H1: There is a significant relationship between quarrying activities and environmental hazards in the study area.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of the study will help to establish the effects of quarrying activity to the environment, this include the physical environment and human environment: the quarry workers and residents around the area of study. The findings of the study will be useful to stakeholders in a number of ways. The government will use this to justify need for additional budgetary allocation to the county in general and to improve on ways of stone quarrying and, other alternatives in the region. The finding will help environmental institutions such as NEMA whose function is to examine land use patterns so as to determine their impact on the quality and quantity of natural resources advice the government on legislative and other measures for the management on the environment. The government through the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (MEMR) will then make decision on whether to renew the licenses or not. The study will be of great benefit to policy makers, national environmental agency, students and researchers. It will also be readily available for academic consumption.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the effect of quarrying activities on the environment, a case study of Bwari Area Council, Abuja FCT.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Environment: The sum total of all surroundings of a living organism, including natural forces and other living things, which provide conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage.
Pollution: The process of introducing or adding materials to the environment. These materials, deliberately or accidentally introduced to the environment, are harmful and injurious to living systems.
Environmental impacts: These are the resultant effects that come with the activity of quarry mining or any other mining activity. They may be positive or negative impact to the environment.
Dust: a fine powder that consist of very small pieces of a particular substance.
Noise means any undesirable sound that is intrinsically objectionable or that may cause adverse effects on human health or the environment.
Noise Pollution means the emission of uncontrolled noise that is likely to cause danger to human health or damage to the environment.
Quarry: A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock material and sand are extracted.
Quarry pit: This is a surface excavation allocated to an operator within a quarry site for extracting building stone, construction aggregate, sand and gravel.
Quarry site: A cluster of quarry pits within a locality. Quarry Worker: a person employed by a quarry operator to carry out quarrying activities.
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