1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigeria, located in West Africa, has a total land area of 983,213
square kilometres. Presently, its estimated population is over 150
million people (World Bank Population figures) yielding an average
density of more than120persons per square kilometres. Industrial
activities, in its modern forms, are relatively recent in the history of
Nigeria’s economic development. During the pre-colonial period,
Nigeria featured considerable craft industry as modern factory activity
was then not known. With the advent of the Second World War and its
aftermath, the economy of Nigeria changed tremendously and there were
demands from Europe for industrial raw materials. With time, due to the
low technological base, industrial development took on the
assembly-type pattern of import substitution (Wikipedia, 2015).
However, political self determination since 1960 did provide the
opportunity for improving on its import substitution strategy as well as
developing its potentials for real industrial take off through capital
goods industry. Prior to the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri,
Rivers State in 1956,agriculture (before 1970) was the mainstay of the
Nigerian economy. The oil boom witnessed in the 1970s led to a
tremendous increase in industrial activities. With financial resources
available from oil and no development policy, unguided urbanization and
industrialization took place. As desirable and necessary as this
development was, it became an albatross not of itself but because of the
lack of appropriate environmental protection policies to guide it. The
result was the indiscriminate siting of industries, deforestation and
desertification, disregarding the need for environmental concern. The
process technology of some of these industries often resulted in
unacceptable levels of toxic and dangerous industrial wastes and
effluent emissions. These culminated in the degradation of the
environment and devastating ecological and human disasters.
As a result of these, the need to combine
industrial development and environmental protection arose. Acts of
legislation for environmental protection, known as environmental laws,
were then enacted. However, the researcher is seeking to provide an
highlights on the various issues of environmental pollution and the
challenges encountered in establishing an effective environmental
enforcement programme and the solutions proffered by the government in
tackling these problems (Wikipedia, 2015).
Oil is the primary base of Nigeria’s economy and
is also the cause of major environmental and social problems in the
Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Over the years, oil exploration,
production, and refinement in Nigeria has resulted in various
environmental and ecological problems that range from oil spills, gas
flares, habitat destruction, air and water pollution, and land
degradation. Also, a major cause of oil pollution in that same region
is also to a great extent, from the activities of illegal oil bunkering
and illegal refineries operated indigenes and some highly placed
individuals in government. The chemical properties of spilled oil often
affect the productiveness of soil and pollute water bodies, thereby
causing irreparable damage to agricultural lands as well as aquatic
Gas flaring is a significant environmental and
economic problem in and Nigeria emits approximately 70 million metric
tons of carbon dioxide annually (US EIA1999). This adversely affects
the socio-economic actives of local communities, which is primarily
based on fishing and farming (Egunjobi1993). It is estimated that in one
region alone in the Niger Delta, flaring is statistically likely to
cause 49 premature deaths, 5000 respiratory illnesses among children
and some 120,000 asthma attacks and 8 additional causes of cancer each
year (Environmental Rights Action and the Climate Justice Programme).
Another major environmental issue ravaging
Nigeria is water pollution. According to Anukam (1997), the main source
of water pollution in Nigeria has to do with forestry activities.
Deforestation and improper soil tillage practices increase the
concentration of soil particles that make their way into water bodies
and in turn increases their sediment loads.. The discharge of
industrial waste materials into bodies of water is another major source
of pollution in Nigeria. Discharges from industries such as petroleum,
mining, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, and textiles among others
have increased the contents of sulfates and nitrates in water bodies
and has altered properties such as color and odor (Adelegan 2004).
These metals and other chemical substance increase the toxicity of
water bodies as well as soils. A large percentage of Nigerians derive
most of their domestic and drinking water from ponds, stream, and
shallow wells. Hence, water pollution is a major health concern that
places the health of about 40 million people at risk of diseases such
as cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and typhoid (Anukam 1997, Adelegan
2004, Orubu 2006).
Domestic and industrial waste has also constituted a major source
of environmental pollution in Nigeria. The improper disposal and
ineffective management of municipal solid waste and industrial waste
creates major environmental and aesthetic problems in most of Nigeria’s
urban areas. Due to overpopulation and the creation of slums, most
municipal areas currently generate more waste than they can manage
(Ogbonna and Ekweozor, 2002). This has led to the accumulation of waste
heaps in “several areas, blocking motorways and making passage along
alleys and pavements difficult” (Ajayi and Ikporokpo 2005). The most
common method of waste disposal in Nigeria is waste transfer from one
region to another and incineration. The first involves the transfer of
waste from a region that is considered to have a higher aesthetic value
to one that has a lower one. The waste incineration method of waste
disposal often results in air pollution due to the release of gases such
as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, halogenated
carbons, and other particulate matter.
There is need for government to enact and
implement necessary environmental laws to control the issues of
environmental pollution and this can be done by putting necessary
environmental pollution enforcement structures in place to curb the
spate of environmental pollution in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Irrespective of the numerous environmental laws enacted to protect
the environment, environmental degradation has continued unabated. Oil
spillage and gas flaring activities are still commonplace in Nigeria,
especially in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Gas flaring has also continued
unabated irrespective of the Nigerian government’s directive to end
flaring by 2010 (Kalu, 2009). The Idoho oil spill incidence of 1997
spilled 40,000 barrels of crude oil into the environment. It travelled
all the way from Akwa Ibom state to Lagos state dispersing oil through
the coastal states, up to the Lagos coast. According to the Department
of Petroleum Resources, between 1997 and 2001, Nigeria recorded a total
number of 2,097 oil spill incidents amounting to 1,947,600 barrels of
Thousands of barrels of oil have been split into
the environment through our oil pipelines and tanks in the country.
Enforcement of environmental regulations is still poor as industries
continue to discharge untreated waste water into the environment. Heaps
of refuse are always a constant sight to behold in Nigerian streets
Most recently, in December 2011, the SPDC’s Bonga
offshore platform spilled about 40, 000 barrels of crude oil into
Nigerian waters. On January 16 2012, a gas explosion occurred at the
Finuwa oil field owned by Chevron Nigeria Limited. The Nigerian
government was shockingly silent about these two incidents. This study
however wants to identify the problems of environmental pollution and
proffer solution to the issue.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To identify the issues of environmental pollution in Nigeria.
- To analyze the impact of environmental pollution in Nigeria.
- To determine the solutions to the challenges of environmental pollution in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the issues of environmental pollution in Nigeria?
- What is the impact of environmental pollution in Nigeria?
- What are the solutions to the challenges of environmental pollution in Nigeria?
HO: Environmental pollution is not a major challenge in Nigeria
HA: Environmental pollution is a major challenge in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this research will educate the general public
on the issues and the adverse effect of environmental pollution in
- The findings from this study is going to necessitate
measures that will lead to demand for improved implementation of
environmental pollution control laws in Nigeria
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other
scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in
this field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to
provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on environmental pollution in Nigeria will cover all
cases of environmental pollution ranging from air and water pollution
due to oil exploration and refining, effluent waste from industries,
dump sites all over Nigeria market and streets and even noise
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.
Amukam, O., (1997). Pollution control regulation the Nigerian oil industry (Lagos: N.I.A.L.S.1997).
Ogbonna, E.A., and Ekweozor, P., (2000): The Adverse
Effects of Crude Oil Spills in the Niger Delta. Urhobo Historical
Ajayi, A. & Ikporokpor, D., 2002. International Environmental law (Ardley son: Transnational Publishcrs).
Orubu, E.A. (2006) The Community of Oil Exporting Countries New York: Cornell University Press).
Kalu V. E., LL.M, BL, (2009): Toxic Wastes And the
Nigerian Environment; Dept. Of Private &Property Law, University of
Benin: An Appraisal.
Adelegan, M.M., 2004: Nigerian Petroleum Law and Practice (Ibadan. Nigeria: Fountain Books).
Pearson, S.R., Petroleum in Nigerian Economy (California: Stanford University Press,1970).