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Effect of Acid Rain on Environment in Eket Local Government Area

Effect of Acid Rain on Environment in Eket Local Government Area

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The study was undertaken to determine the effects of acid rain on the environment in Eket local government area, Akwa Ibom State. Three research questions and three hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Five hundred (500) people were randomly selected from five (5) villages.

Instrument for data collection was sampling techniques and chi-square were used to analyze the data collected. The findings from the study indicated that acid rain has tremendous effects resulting in deteriorating state of the environmental media.

Based on these findings, recommendations were made among others that reduction in the release of atmospheric pollutants, use of alternative energy and legislation on the control of environmental pollution.



1.1 Background to the Study

Eket is one of the oil booming zones in Nigeria which is heavily occupied by various oil industries and of such, waters bodies are mostly polluted by the high level of acidic gas released into the air by oil industries in the area. Since the beginning of civilization human beings have used various natural resources for their benefit.

To make life easier, they have produced facilities that use many of the earth’s energy resources. Energy is manly produced by burning fuels such as coal, oil and natural gases. On one side this kind of development makes our lives easier, but On the other hand, it results in pollution by release of harmful substances into the environment.

Burning of fossil fuels in industries and transport sector, industrialization and urbanization have led to increase in concentrations of gaseous and particulate pollutants in the atmosphere leading to air pollution (Tripathi and Gautam, 2007). Acid rain is one of the most serious environmental problems emerged due to air pollution.

Acid rain is a broad term that describes several ways through which acid falls out from the atmosphere. According to Edwin (2018), it occurs when acid-forming chemicals react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen and other chemicals to form various acid compounds. These acidic compounds fall to the earth as acid rain, fog, snow or as dry deposited gases and particles that can be blown to the ground by the acid. It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic lives and infrastructure.

The problem of acid rain is widely believed to result from the washout of oxides of sulphur, nitrogen and other constituents present in the atmosphere. The main sources of these oxides are coal fired power stations, smelters (producing So2) and motor vehicle exhaust (producing Nox).

There oxides may react with other chemicals and produce corrosive substances that are washed out either in wet or dry form by rain as acid deposition. Initially events of acidic rainfall were frequent only around industrial areas. But with the increased use of tall stacks of power Plant and industries, atmospheric emission are being transported regionally and even globally (Wash et al., 2006)

Acid rain affects the quality of human life, threatens environmental stability and the sustainability of food and timber reserves, thus posing an economic crisis. Acid rain has broad economic, social and medical implications and has been called an unseen plague of the industrial age (Anon, 1984).

Acid rain or precipitation has a number of potential effects on terrestrial ecosystem including acidification of soil, altered nutrients supply, increased mobilization of aluminum and other shifts from acid sensitive to acid tolerant species of soil flora and fauna population, alters rates of decomposition of organic and nitrogen fixation (Jacobson et al, 1988).

Foliar damage to crops and forests, interference with productivity process, leaching of nutrients and other substances from leaves increases or decreases in germination, depending on sensitivity of acidity. Indirect effects on agricultural crops include fertilization by nitrate and sulphate promoting growth (Yang, 1989).

Acid rain’s acid level is measured using pH scale (a 1-14, number scale) 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. A 7.0 is either acidic or alkaline, being known as distilled water and considered neutral, Whereas on an average, a normal pH level for acid precipitation is around 5.6 (Monica, 2013).

Effect of Acid Rain on Environment in Eket Local Government Area

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Acid rain generally is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is usually acid. Presently, acid rain has generated a lot of problems in Eket local government area. It has been observed by the researcher that acid rain leads to pollution of freshwater and soil, causing paint to peel, corrosion of steel structure and weathering of building and statues.

Other effects as observed by the researcher which he attributed to acid rain include damage of plant tissue (especially roof and foliage). Noctic spot on leaf blade resulting in sudden falling off of leaves and subsequent death of plants. As a result of environmental impacts associated with acid rain, the researcher therefore decided to carry out this research work on the effect of acid rain in Eket Local Government Area, which is the major oil producing community in Nigeria. 

1.3    Statement of the Purpose

This study was designed to obtain relevant information necessary to assess the effects of acid rain in Eket local government area.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study will be of benefit to a number of people:

It will enable residents of Eket Local Government Area to acknowledge the impacts of acid rain in the environment, the oil giant: Mobile Oil Producing Unlimited to the effects caused by its release of nitrogen and sulphur oxides in the cause of her oil extraction.

It will also enlighten them on the simple preventive and control measures to curb the menace posed by acid rain in the environment.

This research work has taken a bold step in the direction of the development of the relevant body of knowledge upon which research and necessary environmental sustaining interventions can be built especially in the specific area of environmental health.

Moreover, the study will serve as reference materials to other students and professionals who might develop interest in the subject and want to venture into it.

To researches, the finding would enhance professional knowledge and understanding with reference to acid rain, the effects as well as preventive and control measures.

Effect of Acid Rain on Environment in Eket Local Government Area

1.5 Justification of the Study

The dilapidated states of infrastructure and the financial involvement in repairing of houses and defacing structures caused by acid rain is a cause of concern.

The major focus of this study is on the effects of acid rain on the environment in Eket local government area being the study area. The findings of this study will be used to help in awareness creation on the effects of acid rain in Eket local government and proffer solutions which will produce change of attitude of the oil company towards curtailing the release of gases into the atmosphere which fall back to the ground as acid rain.

1.6 Objective of Study

The broad objective of this study is to increase awareness status of the people of Eket on the menace of acid rain as well as redirect the oil producing company operating in the area on its roles in tackling the problems posed by its uncontrolled release of substances that lead to the formation of acid rain.

1.7 Specific Objectives

  1. To determine the main cause of acid rain in Eket local government area.
  2. To identify the effects of acid rain in Eket local government area.
  3. To determine possible preventive /control measures on acid rain in Eket local government area.

1.8 Research Questions

  1. What are the main causes of acid rain in Eket local government area?
  2. What are the effects posed by acid rain in Eket local government area?
  3. What are the preventive/control measures to curb acid rain in Eket local government area?

1.9 Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant relationship between uncontrolled release of atmospheric pollutants and formation of acid rain.
  2. There is no significant relationship between acid rain and damage to the environment.
  3. There is no significant relationship between control of atmospheric pollutants and formation of acid rain.     

1.10 Operational Definitions of Terms

Acid: Any substance that in water solution tastes sour, changes the colour of certain indicators, reacts with some metals to liberate hydrogen, react with bases to form salt, and promotes certain chemical reactions.

Acidification: The act or process of making something sour or changing into an acid.

Acid Rain: This refers to the precipitation with a pH of less than 5.7 that result in a reaction that involves sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxides with oxygen and water.

Air Pollution: According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/, 286), air pollution is defined as the presence in the out-door atmosphere of one or more contaminants such as dust fumes, gas, mist colour, smoke or vapour, in quantities or characteristics, and of duration such as to be injurious to human, plant or animal life or to property or which unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.

Environment: This could be referred to as the sum total of conditions which surround man at a given point in space and time (Edet, 2013).

Health: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is the state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing of an individual and not merely the absent of disease or infinity.                     

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