THE IMPLICATIONS OF AIR POLLUTION ON HUMAN HEALTH

CHAPTER ONE

Environment is an important resource that provides livelihood and comfort to man. From the creation, environment remains indispensable to the existence and continuity of lives be it aquatic or terrestrial. This holds true because of the fact that, every living organism breath, eat, engage into some form of recreation and generally, survive through adaptation to the environmental conditions. That is why, paying special attention to environment becomes indispensable, because without it life becomes unbearable.

The environmental degradation occasioned by the socio-economic and industrial activities of man caused great concern to all. Prior to 18th century, cases of environmental problems were scarcely or seldomly featured in the world political, social and economic discourse. This was because, human activities were limited to trade and commerce, agriculture with simply technology. The world then hard rarely made use of combustible steam engine for human survival although it may have been on the experimental stage but it was not at the scale after industrial revolution of 18th century. Thus, the live was simple, no pollution and man was not exposed to danger apart from war of conquest and minor diseases.

The period of industrial revolution in the 18th century brought a new face of survival and socio-economic challenges. This is the period where human existence was beginning to completely tied to machine. The function and utilization capacity of machines necessitated the invention of turbine which became inevitable to the survival evolution of man. This indeed marked the beginning of environmental pollution, with serious consequence on human health.

In this era of man’s civilization, virtually every aspect of human comfort was closely knit to steam engine (turbine) and they include: electricity generation, production, exploration of natural resources, agriculture, commerce and transportation etc.

The pollution caused by industrial revolution in the world, particularly air constitute threat to live as carbon iv oxide Co2, Carbon ii oxide Co etc, discharge into atmosphere impose negative effect to lungs and respiratory tract. The incomplete combustion of gas in either automobile or internal combustion of steam engine caused some forms of diseases such as brain damages and headache – globally.

However, in Nigeria, cases of environmental degradation as a result of human activities are featuring prominently in Niger Delta region and cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt. Here, pollution of various forms become parts of the people’s life in the course of oil exploration. It is not uncommon to hear and experience devastating environmental pollution caused by gas flaring. A lot of lives, properties etc, have been damaged by air pollution.

Combustion from automobile have equally added burden on human health and often time, people fall sick on the account of fumes.

In Akwa Ibom State, indeed Uyo urban which is the Central Business District (CBD), there are cases of environmental pollution caused by human activities. The epileptic power supply continue to sustain this problem virtually every house, church, school, office and business premise in our neighbourhood makes use of one electrical generating set or the other. Although other sources like refuse and poor waste management had been known to have constituted air pollution, however, those of the automobile and internal combustion of steam engine like electrical generating sets pump a larger percentage of poisonous fumes into air and as such remain the main factor or sources of pollution.

The toxic fumes pump into air have been known to have brought some forms of health hazard to the people. Thus, as a result, it has affected the physical, psychological and physiological disposition of the good people of Uyo.

Therefore, it was in recognition of this environmental problem, that affect Uyo Metropolis, that this research is conducted to finds ways of ameliorating the problem. Thus, the study would to a holistic approach in investigating means of curbing the effect of air pollution on human health and make appropriate recommendations for a way forward.

Health, it is said is wealth, and without it the earth remain empty. Our environment must be friendly if we must have good health. Good health although promoted by nutrition, physical exercises etc, can hardly be attainable if, environmental problems like air pollution is not addressed. The environmental degradation occasioned by fumes from industrial, commercial, domestic and transportation activities affect health tremendously. For instance, carbon iv oxide is known to have negative effect on ozone layer and consequently cause severe heat to human being.

However, air pollution following human activities in Uyo constitutes a source of ailment to humanity. This is because carbon monoxide when released to air or inhaled can combine readily with hemoglobin and posed a threat to human health. Sometimes, in high concentrations, it (carbon monoxide) causes dizziness, headache, nausea, tiredness, and even brain damage when inhaled for a long period. lnfact, the alarming rate of health problems and issues in the society are to a large extent traceable to environmental health hazard mostly air pollution.

Moreover, preliminary diseases like lose of vision, abdominal pain itching and even cancer are caused by fuel gases. Therefore, it is as a result of the above mentioned problems, that this study is critically investigates the implication of continued air pollution on human health.

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following are the research questions for the study:

Does air pollution the cause of poor health status of the people?
To what extent do fumes contribute to the environmental health problems.

1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

Air pollution is a serious environmental health hazard to a considerable number of people. This is because an autopsy of people who have died in their air polluted cities shows dark lungs and alveoli containing numerous particles. Therefore, this research intends to investigate and find out the health implication of air pollution and how it can be controlled. The main aim is to find out how the problem of air pollution can be tackled. Others include objectives:

To identify major sources of air pollution in Uyo.
To identify types of air pollution in Uyo
To measure the concentration of such pollutants in the air of Uyo.
To measure the health effects of these pollutants in Uyo.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study is crucial to the environmental degradation control, particularly air pollution. The researcher would make sure that the outcome emanating from the study go along way to helping solve environmental health problem in Nigeria.

Beside, students from urban and Regional Planning and other related discipline would see the work invaluable for further study. Again, the researcher would ensure that findings from the study broaden the scope of the field (Urban and Regional Planning).

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

Uyo is a capital of geographical entity called Akwa Ibom State. Because of its status, it has attracted attention from all sections of the state and swelled the city with various economic activities. Here we have services, commercial, industrial and transportation activities. These activities however, cause pollution.

As witnessed daily, services, transportation, religious and domestic activities promote air pollution because of intensive use of electrical sets. The fumes emanated from the usage of the electrical generating plant contained poisonous gases which are dangerous to health. Therefore, it is as a result of negative effects of fumes to the health of Uyo residence that this research investigates the health implication of the air pollution. The study would only be focused to health related problems associated with air pollution in Nigeria, with Uyo being the case study.

In this study, one hypothesis guided by research questions would be tested. This is:

HO: There is no significant relationship between the pollutants concentration in the air and the health status of the people.

HI: There is significant relationship between the pollutants concentration in the air and the health status of the people.

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