Effects of gas flaring on the environment, using the Niger delta area of Nigeria as a case study

Author(s): C.S.Okafor, I.O.Igwilo, C.A.Oparaji, U.F.Umeoguaju, V.H.A.Enemor

Gas flaring is common in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy and some other economies in the world without many people being aware of the full impact of its consequences on plants, micro-organisms and the environment at large. This study investigated the effects of gas flaring on the following parameters: soil pH, soil moisture and the nitrogen content of plants using soil and plant samples collected fromthree different flare sites (namely Ughelli ups, Sapele flowstation andAmukpe flowstation) and one non-flare (namelyMosogar flowstation) as the control. The results of the study showed that the parameters investigated were all negatively affected to some extent. Statistically significant differences (p< 0.05) fromthe control were observed in the nitrogen levels of the roots collected fromthe three different flare sites. Except the shoot of the plant collected from Amukpe flow station, all the shoots analyzed fromthe flare sites showed significant reduction (p< 0.05) in their nitrogen levels compared to the control. For distance of 200m from the flare site, no significant difference in soil pH was observed for all the three different flare sites studied. For distance of 500mfromthe flare sites,Ughelli ups and Sapele flow stations showed significant difference (p< 0.05) in their soil pH compared to the control. Only Sapele flowstation showed significant difference (p< 0.05) in soil pH compared to the control, for distance of 750m from the flare site. There was significant reduction in soil moisture contents of Ughelli ups and Amukpe flow stations compared to the control for the distance of 200m from the flare site. For distance of 500m, no significant difference (p< 0.05) from the control was seen in the moisture content of all the three flare locations. For distance of 750m,Ughelli ups andAmukpe flare sites showed significant reduction in their moisture content compared to the control. It was observed that the negative effects of the flare decreased with distance fromthe flare sites.

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