Originally posted 2017-04-09 15:00:28.

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF AIR POLLUTIONS IN THE OIL & GAS HOST COMMUNITIES

gas flare in a flow station

The evidence of colored water during rainfall in most of the communities where the activities of oil and gas industries are located has given reason for concern on whether they are the contributing factor to such occurrence, a recent discovery of black particles sticking on the bodies of cars, building roofs, and on clothes spread outside, every morning within the riverine areas and most places in south-south Nigeria have given reasons for concern, the most worrisome is its occurrences in port Harcourt, a major oil and gas city in the south-south region of Nigeria.

The evidence of colored water during rainfall in most of the communities where the activities of oil and gas industries are located has given reason for concern on whether they are the contributing factor to such occurrence, a recent discovery of black particles sticking on the bodies of cars, building roofs, and on clothes spread outside, every morning within the riverine areas and most places in south-south Nigeria have given reasons for concern, the most worrisome is its occurrences in port Harcourt, a major oil and gas city in the south-south region of Nigeria.

Many radio and television broadcast had been made regarding the cause of such black particles in the air, some people attributed it to activities of some of the industries that just resumed newly in the state, while others relate it to the longtime oil and gas refining activities within the state, including the activities of illegal crude oil refineries.

My experience of witnessing black colored water in buckets during rainfall at Ogboinbiri a community in southern ijaw local government, Bayelsa state, where many oil and gas activities had been taking place for year; made me to start compelling it to what am witnessing recently in Portharcourt city, a city that had been occupied up to 40 % in oil and gas related activities for more than 40 years now.

If someone far from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria happens to use a bucket of water to obtain water from rainfall the water will probably seem to be colorless especially if it was obtained directly from an open air instead of the building roofs channels, but in the region of Niger Delta the situation seems different, as the little observations I made showed that the color of the water would appear with a little black or ash color.

Though I found no reason to conclude on the case of the Ogboinbiri community till the recent one happening in Portharcourt city. What these simply mean, is that many people living the region may actually had been breathing those particles without knowing.

In my little knowledge I put down few things as a suggestion to what could have contributed to these pollutions:

Gas flare from flow stations

The activity of flaring the gases coming out with the crude oil from the reservoir before they are pumped to the treatment plants and finally sent for commercial distribution is something that would be difficult for many oil and gas industries in Nigeria to avoid because it has become part of the routine process in the handling of crude oil which is also the major source of income to those companies.

Many flow stations in Nigeria have the gas flaring units in them, they are mainly built with a very tall pipe of about 40 feet height with diameter not greater than 500cm, while some of the flow stations have theirs on the ground surface such that the flare is not visible from afar but whichever techniques used each of the gas flaring unit is usually located at a good distance from the where the main plants processing the crude oil are located, for the reason of preventing easy fire outbreak from the fire coming from the gas flare.

The gas flaring in oil and gas industries had been a major topic of discussion in different countries such that modern flow stations had been said to have technologies that make them process the crude oil without flaring any of the gas, rather the gas is processed for domestic and industrial uses. It is in this view that many oil and gas companies have started buying the idea for the modern technology, it is believed that in few years to come the flaring of gas in the Nigeria flow stations would be greatly reduced by this modern technology.

The effects the gas flaring could cause to the environment is by the deposition of excess carbon monoxide in the ozone layer within the area such activity is taking place, in a way that after sometime the carbon mono oxide becomes accumulated in that atmosphere, and any incident such as rainfall and the falling of morning dews would have the carbon mono oxide molecules that were suspended in the air to mix with the falling water or dews to return back to the ground, such that the rainfall and dews now acts as the carrier of those suspended particles in the air.

FLARE FROM ILLEGAL CRUDE OIL REFINING PROCESS

The activities of the illegal oil refiners cannot be quantified since they operate at hidden places such as bush, creeks, or fenced buildings, in such a case one cannot actually evaluate the level of safety they are putting in place to ensure that the environment the activity is taking place is not greatly affected. For this reason, it is believed that most of the excess carbon mono oxide in the air could be from the activities from illegal refining of crude oil. Though not specified on how it could be, but following the believe that most people that are involved in such activity may actually not be professionals in that field and as such could employ any technique to see their crude oil refined even when the activity is detrimental to the environment.

FLARE FROM NATIONAL REFINERIES

The activities of national refineries could also be attributed for the excess carbon mono oxide in the atmosphere within the oil and gas activity regions, the major activity of the national refineries contributing to the release of carbon mono oxide in the air is the flaring of the gas in the refinery, a visit to any national refinery would confirm this through the visible large flame of fire coming from a very tall & vertically erected pipe, in some refinery it could be more than one flame, the number of flame determines the number of refining activities taking place.

UNCONTROLLED INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES

Due to the inflow of many companies to the region because of the presence of crude oil and its processing companies in the same region. These companies that would come to the region depend so much on the refineries and flow stations for some raw materials and that is the main reason they have to operate in the same environment.

Some of these companies could be plastic industries, tyres making industries, insecticides and light chemical industries, petroleum products making industries e.g.; production engine oils, grease, etc. and corrosion controlling industries, etc. the activities of these industries sometimes affects the environment through the release of toxic gases in the air including carbon mono oxide.

ASHES FROM BURNT BUSH

Some black color that do appear in water obtain from rain fall could be from burnt bush nearby. It is an obvious to note that, each time a bush gets burnt the ashes are left there on the ground, and when rain wants to fall the wind of the rain could stir the ashes on the ground of the burnt bush such that they are pushed up to the air where they are broken down into smaller particles to form molecules, and at such instant when the rain starts dropping it will carry those particles back to the ground.

ASHES FROM BURNING AT DUMP SITES

Most of the dump sites are usually burnt overall a period of time, but the more often they are burnt the more ashes they accumulate and the ashes settle on the ground of the dump site, any incident such as wind could lift the ashes up to the atmosphere where they move at random motion depending on the direction of the wind, the force of the wind moving them helps them to be broken down into smaller pieces while in the air and any rainfall following such wind will have the dropping water mixed up with those particles.

 

 

 

 

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