DETERMINATION OF THE LEVELS OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHs) AND HEAVY METALS IN SOILS AND PLANT FOOD CULTIVARS FROM SOME OIL EXPLORATION COMMUNITIES OF BAYELSA STATE
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This research is on DETERMINATION OF THE LEVELS OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (pahs) AND HEAVY METALS IN SOILS AND PLANT FOOD CULTIVARS FROM SOME OIL EXPLORATION COMMUNITIES OF BAYELSA STATE.. Soils and vegetation in three selected communities in Bayelsa state were investigated for presence of recalcitrant Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs and heavy metals in the soils and edible plant food cultivars Two of the communities, Angiama and Oporoma are crude oil impacted areas having had oil spillage accidents in 2010 and 2008 respectively while Yenagoa a non crude oil impacted area is used as control Physicochemical properties of soils from these study areas were investigated using standard methods, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon PAHs in the soil and food cultivars were determined using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrophotometer while heavy metals were analysed by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer The result of the investigation reveal that oil spillage degrades the soil as revealed by the significant reduction in pH , moisture content and bulk density of soils from Angiama and Oporoma communities compared with Yenagoa Soil from Angiama had the highest percentage organic carbon 440053 and total hydrocarbon 846401011mg/kg followed by Oporoma 213012 and 52000500mg/kg respectively and Yenagoa 130108 and 6220026mg/kg respectively The anion levels of soil nitrate NO3 2 and phosphate PO4 3 were significantly highest in soil residues from Yenagoa than in Angiama and Oporoma while the levels of exchangeable cations Ca2, Mg2, K,and Na were highest in Angiama than in Oporoma and Yenagoa soils The values were significantly different at plt;005This suggest that exchangeable cations accompany oil spill High molecular weight recalcitrant PAHs Benzoa pyrene, benzoa anthracene, BenzoK fluoranthene, Benzobfluoranthene were present in both Angiama and Oporoma soil but were not detected in Yenagoa Except for phenanthrene, low molecular weight PAHs were not detected in soil samples from Yenagoa, occurred sparingly in Oporoma but were predominant in Angiama Food cultivars from both Angiama and Oporoma were equally proportionately contaminated with these high molecular weight PAHs The leafy vegetables pumpkin and scent leaf were far more contaminated than the tubers yam and cassava Heavy metal contaminants of soils and food cultivars mirror exactly the same trend associated with recalcitrant PAHs These results reveal that oil spillage activity is responsible for the preponderance of PAHs and heavy metals in the soils of the Niger Delta It also demonstrates that by the process of natural weathering polluted soils are remedied over time Given the appreciable accumulation of these crude fraction toxicants in food cultivars, it is suggested that the foods remain a major endogenous source of PAHs and heavy metals among the people of the area
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This research is on DETERMINATION OF THE LEVELS OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (pahs) AND HEAVY METALS IN SOILS AND PLANT FOOD CULTIVARS FROM SOME OIL EXPLORATION COMMUNITIES OF BAYELSA STATE. Crude Oil has had profound impact on the world civilization than any single natural resource in recorded history. Oil has become a very decisive element in defining the politics, rhetoric and diplomacy of states. All over the world, the lives of people are affected and destiny of nations has been determined by the result of oil explorations. Oil keeps the factories of the industrialized countries working and provides the revenue, which enables oil exporters to execute ambitious national and economic development plans. The march of progress would be retarded and life itself would be unbearable if the world is deprived of oil that is why oil has become the concern of government, a vital ingredient of their politics and a crucial factor in the political and diplomatic strategies (Pyagbara, 2007).
Nigeria joined the league of oil producing nations on August 3rd, 1956 when oil was discovered in commercial quantities at Oloibiri in Bayelsa and today ranks as the leading oil and gas producer in Africa and the 6th largest oil exporter in the world (Pyagbara, 2007). As oil was struck in commercial quantities in Nigeria, it also signaled the beginning of a profound transformation of Nigeria’s political and economic landscape. Since the 1970s, oil has accounted for 80% of the Nigerian government’s revenue and 95% of the country’s export earnings. Interestingly almost all of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources come from its Niger delta region occupied by mosaic of indigenous nationalities. Crude oil is made of different fractions and when there is spill on the environment, spreading immediately takes place, the gaseous and liquid components evaporate, some get dissolved in water and even oxidized and yet some undergo bacterial changes and eventually sink to the bottom by gravitational action (Akpofure et al., 2000). Mangrove forests have fallen to the toxicity of oil spills, the rainforest has fallen to the axe of oil companies, wild life and game have been driven away and farmlands have been rendered infertile with gross implication on the right to adequate food (Pyagbara, 2007; Omofonmwam and Odia, 2009). During oil spills the process of photosynthesis which enhances plant diversity is impaired since the process is reduced because spilled crude have a high absorbance property of UV light which makes plant leaves not to photosynthesis and thus die leading to biodiversity loss (Nwilo and Olusegun,2007).
The toxic crude affects not only the herbs and shrubs but also the soil fauna. The volatile lower molecular weight components of the crude affects aerial life, while the dissolution of the less volatile components which makes water toxic affects aquatic life (Akpofure et, al., 2000). Gaseous and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are transported over long distances before deposition and may accumulate in vegetation (Tuteja et al, 2011). Heavy metal contaminants of crude oil contaminate the soil and water and thus enter the food chain. In this manner humans are indirectly exposed to PAHs and heavy metals through the food chain.
1.1 Statement of the problem
The most profound and adverse impact of oil pollution in Niger Delta is environmental pollution with far reaching implications on all other aspects of traditional lifestyles and livelihood of the people among which is the total loss of biodiversity and destruction of habitats largely due to soil degradation and persistence of recalcitrant hydrocarbon constituents in water bodies, soil and food cultivars.
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the study
Nigerian crude oil contains gaseous and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as some heavy metals that pollute drinking water and marine organisms. These toxicants may be passed up the food chain and become a major source of human exposure.
1.2.1 Aim of the study
The aim of this study is to determine those recalcitrant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon fractions preponderant in soils following episodic oil spillage events as well as the accompanying heavy metal pollutants and how they impact on food cultivars.
1.2.2 The Objectives are
- To ascertain the different recalcitrant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that predominate in soils following episodic oil spillage event.
- To establish to what extent those recalcitrant PAHs are taken up by food cultivars which as primary producers introduce them into the food chain.
- To determine the heavy metal pollutants accompanying these episodic oil spillage events in the soil and how they join the food chain through uptake by.
- To determine if there are any correlation in the preponderance of PAHs, heavy metals and b/w PAHs and heavy metals.
1.3 Significance of the study
The overwhelming environmental impacts of oil exploration activities and accidental oil spills abound in literature. However, the actual exposure in the Niger Delta environment and food chain has remained an object of controversy as there are claims that the toxic fractions of crude oil are very volatile and evaporate easily from the environment. This study will document the exposure risk of the population to PAHs and heavy metals by determining those recalcitrant pollutants that occur in soil in the crude oil spill and how they impact on food cultivar.
1.4 Relevance of the study
Public perception of economic issues in recent times has clouded some very important issues concerning the impact of oil exploration and exploitation on the ecology and people of Oporoma and Angiama in Niger Delta.The result of the study will provide sufficient empirical basis for the community to seek for proper compensatory redress while at the same time guide government to make informed policy formulation for the protection of the Niger Delta environment from the hazards of oil prospecting activities.
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