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Negative Impacts of Oil Exploration on Nigerias Biodiversity - Essay Example

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Oil exploration in the Nigeria’s Niger delta has had both positive and negative impacts. The delta, which is Nigeria’s highest oil producing region also, has the potential of agricultural productivity and tourism attraction. …
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Negative Impacts of Oil Exploration on Nigerias Biodiversity
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Download file to see previous pages It is Africa’s largest wetland, which consists of flat and low lying swamps that are a result of sediment deposition beautifully arranged in a terrain. The area has four different ecological zones which include coastal barrier islands, mangrove swamp forests, fresh water swamps and lowland rainforests. Due to this diverse ecosystem, the delta is one of the world’s most concentrated regions in biodiversity. Not only does it have the potential of supporting abundant fauna and flora, it has the potential of sustaining agricultural production. The freshness of the water gives it the ability of harbouring fresh water fish as well as a water catchment area for domestic consumption. However, the biodiversity has been destroyed by oil exploration activities around the area, and is proving to be a threat to the environment of the place. This paper will look at the various negative impacts of oil exploration in Nigeria has had on the biodiversity. Statistically according to Kadafa (2012, p. 18) Nigeria ranks at first position in the world with flare gas, constituting 46% of Africa’s total flared gas per tonne of oil produced. This accounted for 19.79 per cent of the total global figure in the 1990s. During the period between 1970 and 1979, the average rate of gas flaring in Nigeria stood at 97%. In the period between 1980 and 1989 saw 97% of gas being flared while the years between 1990 and 1999 saw a total of 97% of gas be flared in Nigeria. Most of the gas extracted in the delta is immediately flared into the environment at a rate of 70 million/m3 per day. Gas flaring is the biggest contributor of air pollution in the Niger delta (Edino, et a., 2010, p. 67). Gas flaring emits greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere which include methane and carbon dioxide, the major contributors of global warming. Environmentalists argue that air pollutants are highly concentrated in the Niger Delta than in the rest parts of Nigeria as a result of oil extraction. Gas flare sites produce a lot of heat, which is as high as 1,600 Celsius, making it a major contributor of thermo pollution. Moreover, areas as far as 43.8 metres away from the sites experience temperatures of close to 400 Celsius, which negatively affect the vegetation and animal life and affects ecological equilibrium (Emoyan, 2008, p. 30-34). Global warming is potentially dangerous to the sea level of the low laying coastal areas as it potentially raises the sea level. Evidence of environmental degradation of the delta include inundation on large scale, increased coastal erosion, modification of habitats as wildlife are redistributed in the area, increased intensity of high rainfall events which is associated with increased run off. Soil erosion is a major occurrence as flash floods are common in the region while ocean storm surges have been a frequent occurrence (Kadafa, p. 2012, p. 20). Combined, these effects on the environment potentially jeopardize the survival of communities living in the region. Gas flares have been responsible for rain water and ground water acidification, research has indicated. Evidence shows that the Niger delta has high levels concentration of volatile oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur oxide which exceeding normal standards of federal environmental protection agency. Due to the increased pollution levels, water from shallowly dug wells has indicated the presence of low pH levels, a cause of acid rain. The effects of acid rain cannot be underestimated. Not only does it corrode roofing sheets of houses and commercial buildings, it also damages vegetation as well as contaminate pools, lakes and rivers which are home for fish and other marine life (Akpomuvie, 2011, p. 206). Oil mining in the Niger delta ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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