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ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND IT'S ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISK AMONG RESIDENTS OF NKPOR, IDEMILI NORTH, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE

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ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION AND IT'S ASSOCIATED HEALTH RISK AMONG RESIDENTS OF NKPOR, IDEMILI NORTH, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out to environmental pollution and it's associated health risk among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specifically, the study examined the knowledge of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State, assessed the perception of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State and, determined the associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 259 responses were validated from the survey. The study adopted the theory of ecological perspective of change and development by Wilkinson And Boulding (1973). From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that most residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State are knowledgeable about environmental pollution. Furthermore, the findings revealed that associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State include: respiratory infections, heart diseases, cancers and central nervous system dysfunction. The study recommends that 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..

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

It has been observed in recent times that the role the environment play to a nation‟s development process can not be relegated to the background. Apart from being the physical surrounding for natural habitats, the environment provide the basis for human exploits for agricultural, industrial, commercial, technological and tourism development of a society (Gbehe, 2004). For this and several other reasons, environmental issues now occupy a centre stage in academic discourse and other public fora both at the national and international levels. Recorded evidence has also shown that the environment represents a wide range of the external circumstances, conditions and the things that affect the existence and development of an individual, organism, group (Isaichei 1999) and/or society. In Nigeria for instance, environmental issues did not gain official prominence until the 1988 Koko toxic waste dumping saga which also brought to the fore the exigent need to establish the Nigeria Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), Federal Ministry of Environment and other relevant agencies, ostensibly to tackle environmentally related issues, in the country. These include issues such as environmental pollution, sanitation, depletion of ozone layer, desertification, flooding, erosion, poverty, bush burning, deforestation, soil conservation etc. All these mentioned above are a pointer to the fact that issues of environment and infact environmental pollution which forms the basis of this paper has taken a centre stage in the nation‟s (Nigeria‟s) development process (Gbehe, 2004).

Environmentally minded scholars: Ocheri (2003:174), Gbehe (2004), and Aja (2005:114)

have associated environmental pollution with human activities and albeit persistent human interaction with the environment. Research has also shown that as the population of a country grows/increases with attendant pressure on the environment especially in the wake of improved technologies, environmental abuse and pollution is nevertheless heightened with corresponding effects on lives of people and other living organisms, (Ocheri, 2003) and (Hauses, 1971). It has been observed further that man through industrial, agricultural and the ever increasing urbanization process, security and terrorist activities tend to directly and/or indirectly pollute the environment. Jande (2005) and Aja (2005) in their separate observations, also in tandem with the foregoing agree that unrestricted use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and indiscriminate dumping of refuse, excreta and animal dung as well as spillages from refineries, large scale bush burning etc are perceived as some of the leading factors of environmental pollution in Nigeria.

Environmental pollution takes place when the environment cannot process and neutralize harmful by-products of human activities in due course without any structural or functional damage to its system. Pollution occurs when the natural environment is unable to decompose the generated elements and on the other hand, when man fail to decompose these pollutants artificially. This has negative impacts on crucial environmental services such as provision of clean water, air and arable land without which life on earth as we know it would be difficult (Gbehe, 2004).

Environmental pollution is a problem both in developed and developing countries. Factors such as population growth and urbanization invariably place greater demands on the environment and stretch the use of natural resources to the maximum. Such overuse of natural resources often results in nature‟s degradation.

Human environment is made up of the following aspects: The physical, social, economic, political and technological. The physical environment consists of air, land and water; the social environment consists of the relationships existing among them; the technological environment consists of experiences and practices required for constant adaptation and survival; while the political environment is defined by the degree of authority exercised by some over others. Despite the major efforts that have been made over recent years to clean up the environment, pollution remains a major problem and poses continuing risks to health. According to Hagget, (1975), the problems are undoubtedly greatest in the developing world, where traditional sources of pollution such as industrial emissions, poor sanitation, inadequate waste management, contaminated water supplies and exposures to indoor air pollution from biomass fuels affect large numbers of people. Even in developed countries, however, environmental pollution persists, most especially amongst poorer sectors of society. In recent decades, too, a wide range of modern pollutants have emerged—not least, those associated with road traffic and the use of modern chemicals in the home, in food, for water treatment and for pest control. Most of these pollutants are rarely present in excessively large concentrations, so effects on health are usually far from immediate or obvious. The interactions between humans and their physical surroundings have been extensively studied, as multiple human activities influence the environment. The environment is a coupling of the biotic (living organisms and microorganisms) and the abiotic (hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) (Hagget, 1975).

Pollution is defined as the introduction into the environment of substances harmful to humans and other living organisms. Pollutants are harmful solids, liquids, or gases produced in higher than usual concentrations that reduce the quality of our environment. Human activities have an adverse effect on the environment by polluting the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil in which plants grow. Although the industrial revolution was a great success in terms of technology, society, and the provision of multiple services, it also introduced the production of huge quantities of pollutants emitted into the air that are harmful to human health. Without any doubt, the global environmental pollution is considered an international public health issue with multiple facets. Social, economic, and legislative concerns and lifestyle habits are related to this major problem. Clearly, urbanization and industrialization are reaching unprecedented and upsetting proportions worldwide in our era. Anthropogenic air pollution is one of the biggest public health hazards worldwide, given that it accounts for about 9 million deaths per year (Inyang, 1978).

Without a doubt, all of the aforementioned are closely associated with climate change, and in the event of danger, the consequences can be severe for mankind (Vincent 2011). Climate changes and the effects of global planetary warming seriously affect multiple ecosystems, causing problems such as food safety issues, ice and iceberg melting, animal extinction, and damage to plants

    1. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Inyang, (1978) points out that one of our era's greatest scourges is environmental pollution, on account not only of its impact on climate change but also its impact on public and individual health due to increasing morbidity and mortality. There are many pollutants that are major factors in disease in humans. Among them, Particulate Matter (PM), particles of variable but very small diameter, penetrate the respiratory system via inhalation, causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, reproductive and central nervous system dysfunctions, and cancer (Hagget, 1975). Despite the fact that ozone in the stratosphere plays a protective role against ultraviolet irradiation, it is harmful when in high concentration at ground level, also affecting the respiratory and cardiovascular system. Furthermore, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), dioxins, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are all considered air pollutants that are harmful to humans. Carbon monoxide can even provoke direct poisoning when breathed in at high levels. Heavy metals such as lead, when absorbed into the human body, can lead to direct poisoning or chronic intoxication, depending on exposure. Diseases occurring from the aforementioned substances include principally respiratory problems such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, bronchiolitis, and also lung cancer, cardiovascular events, central nervous system dysfunctions, and cutaneous diseases (Ayia, 2009). Last but not least, climate change resulting from environmental pollution affects the geographical distribution of many infectious diseases, as do natural disasters. The only way to tackle this problem is through public awareness coupled with a multidisciplinary approach by scientific experts; national and international organizations must address the emergence of this threat and propose sustainable solutions.

    1. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The primary objective of this study is to examine environmental pollution and it's associated health risk among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specifically but not limited to, other objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the knowledge of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State.

  2. To assess the perception of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State.

  3. To determine the associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State.

    1. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following questions which are in line with the objectives will be answered in this study:

  1. Are residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State knowledgeable about environmental pollution?

  2. What are the perception of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State?

  3. What are the associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State?

    1. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will be greatly significant to the government as the findings of this study will provide to the government an insight into the level of pollution prevalent in Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State and the need to pursue a sustainable environment. The findings of this study will also equip waste managers in the region with ideas on the prevailing forms and causes of environmental pollution in the region thereby serve as a guide on how to manage and maintain a healthy environment.

Furthermore, the findings of this study will also expose to the public health hazards associated with polluted environment as a result of oil exploration and related activities.

Finally, this research will serve as a fuel of new reasoning and further research work on environmental pollution and it's associated health risks to scholars,lecturers and the general public.

    1. SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will focus on assessing environmental pollution and it's associated health risk among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specifically, it will focus on examining the knowledge of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State, assessing the perception of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State and determining the associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Selected residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.

    1. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study will be limited to assessing environmental pollution and it's associated health risk among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State. Specifically, it will be limited to examining the knowledge of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State, assessing the perception of environmental Pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State and determining the associated health risks of environmental pollution among residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Furthermore, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was limited funds, lack of relevant materials etc. Also encountered was time constraint as the researcher had to carry out this research in addition to attending lectures and other educational activities required of him.

Selected residents of Nkpor, Idemili North, Local Government Area of Anambra State will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study. Therefore findings of this study cannot be used for generalization thus creating a gap for further studies.

    1. DEFINITION OF TERMS


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