Effects of Environmental Degradation on Human Health in Selected Oil Communities in Delta State

Ogbija, T.E, Atubi, A.O, Ojeh, V.N


The study investigated the effects of environmental degradation on human health in nine selected oil communities in Delta State using well-structured 450 copies of questionnaires. Specific oil spillage and gas flaring data within the selected communities were also used. Result showed that 95.2% of the people had experienced environmental degradation from the oil producing communities and some agreed that most of the effects are still ongoing. The overall major cause of environmental degradation in all the oil producing communities is the negligence of duty by government agencies charged with oversight duties of monitoring and compliance (30.8%), Neglect of Environmental regulations/compliance (26.8%), corruption (23.6%), Lack of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports from Companies either at the beginning of the project or periodic assessment (14.7%) respectively. This has however given rise to high degree of sabotage that causes oil spillage in the area. Each community agreed that they were vulnerable to environmental degradation. In Afiesere (33.3%) were vulnerable, 82.2% were vulnerable in Okpai, 77.8% in Kwale, 72.5% at Benekuku, 82.6% at Erhoike, 73.3% at Ekakprame, 97.7% at Ubeji, 95.2% at Uzere and 86.7% at Bomadi. In all, 77.5% of the residents in oil producing communities were vulnerable to environmental degradation while 22.5% were not during the period of study. The implication of this high vulnerability to environmental degradation by the people of these oil producing communities in Delta State shows that something must be done urgently to make living conditions better in these areas for them to be resilient to oil activities which will continue to increase in the area.  The study also revealed that a total of 235 Diarrhoea cases were recorded, 187 Asthma cases, 511 cases of eye infection, 90 cases of Bronchitis and 157 cases of skin infection were reported at the hospitals in the area. This high figure could be linked to environmental degradation of air, water and land which is rampant in the area. The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, NOSDR and all Policy stakeholders in environment and oil and gas sector should revisit and review existing environmental and oil drilling laws in Nigeria with a view of updating them to international and environmental friendly standards.

Keywords: Environment, Degradation, Oil Communities, Human Health

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