JEP  Vol.7 No.4 , March 2016
Impact of Oil and Gas Activities on Acidity of Rain and Surface Water of Niger Delta, Nigeria: An Environmental and Public Health Review

Acidic aerosols resulting from gas flaring and refinery operations in the Niger Delta are a serious environmental and public health concern. Several thousand tons of flue gas components (dust particles, SOx, CO and NOx) are released into the atmosphere by flaring billions of cubic meters of natural gas, refining and volatilizing the spilt oil. Heat wave is generated by flaring travels several meters away from flare points, destroying crops, farm lands, exotic species that are hunters delight while causing extinction of fragile soil flora and fuana. The occurrence of acid rain in the region implies that the natural receptors of the area are the final recipient of land and atmospheric pollutants. In effect, the water needs and public health of the populace are greatly impeded. Nitric and sulphuric acids are regarded as the sole contributors of nitrate and sulphate in precipitation influenced by combusted hydrocarbons: fine nitrate aerosols that dissolve in rain water are conversion products of NO2 that arise from flaring, power plants and motor vehicles. Scientific evidence has shown that rain water and surface water quality in the Niger Delta can accentuate the poor health burden, and may be perpetuated through generations unborn. Diagnostic health risk assessment has revealed that drinking nitrate contaminated water may be associated with spontaneous miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, adult malignant lymphomas, soft tissues sarcomas, cancers and lesions with added health burden associated with heavy metals and other ions. All these pose public health emergency and may significantly entrench health risk for generations to come. Therefore, this manuscript is intended to close certain gaps that were not covered by toxicological information and available data on environmental and food contamination and human internal exposure: it will serve as a continuous reminder and a useful guide to public health policy makers, workers and community based physicians.

Cite this paper: Nduka, J. , Okafor, V. and Odiba, I. (2016) Impact of Oil and Gas Activities on Acidity of Rain and Surface Water of Niger Delta, Nigeria: An Environmental and Public Health Review. Journal of Environmental Protection, 7, 566-581. doi: 10.4236/jep.2016.74051.

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