Global Facts About Air Pollution

August 21, 2020by admin0

Global Facts About Air Pollution

  1. Air pollution is the fifth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide. It is responsible for more deaths than many better-known risk factors such as malnutrition, alcohol use, and physical inactivity. Each year, more people die from air pollution–related disease than from road traffic injuries or malaria.
  2. Air pollution reduces life expectancy on average by 1 year and 8 months globally — a loss that ranks just below that related to smoking but above that related to unsafe drinking water and lung cancer.
  3. The least-developed countries, where air pollution exposures are often the highest (4 or 5 times more than developed countries), face the largest declines in life expectancy related to air pollution.
  4. Household burning of solid fuels — coal, wood, charcoal, dung, and other forms of biomass — remains an important source of exposure to particulate matter, especially in low- and middle-income countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: State of Global Air 2018 & 2019 Report 

What’s New About Nigeria In Global Air Pollution Index?

In 2018, Nigeria was among the three African countries including Uganda and Ethiopia with the highest risk exposure to air pollution sorted by estimated average PM2.5 concentration (µg/m³)

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In Africa, Kano (53.4) was the most polluted city ahead of Kampala (40.8) while the cleanest was Addis Ababa (27.1) followed by Port Harcourt (32.7)k.


Nigeria is ranked number 10 on the worlds pollution index


Apapa docks

There are Eighty-three registered independent marketers of petroleum products with storage facilities scattered across Nigeria. Of course, Apapa is home to the nation’s busiest seaports, tank farms and major container terminals. Just one Oil and Gas tank farm can have about eight loading arms and ten tanks (DPK, AGO and PMS) with a total capacity of over 47 million litres of petroleum products. Imagine having a city full of that?

A check with real estate agents showed that at least 67 tank farms of various sizes and storage capacity were put up for sale from 2017 to 2019 with prices ranging from N7.5 billion – N30 billion. Oil and gas is big business at Apapa, but what is the cost to people who live and work in this area in terms of health hazards from air pollution? And what can the government and stakeholders in the industry do to minimize the impact of the activities of tank farm owners on the environment with regard to air pollution?

First of all, let’s highlight the activities associated with a tank farm and their potential points of oil spills and air pollution:

Operational Incidents 

  • Offloading of oil products at the jetty.
  • Bunkering process.
  • Leakages through hoses, valves and pipe appurtenances.
  • Leakages from delivery of fuel to road tankers.

Operation Related Damages

  • Rupture of conveyance pipeline from offloading point at oil jetty to tank farm.
  • Failure of pipeline connection to storage tanks.
  • Rupture of bund walls.

 Other Incidents

  • Fire outburst and explosion.
  • Natural disaster.

Tank farm owners and regulators have to ensure that the impact of each of the above is adequately assessed and appropriate measures put in place to mitigate them.


The Impact of Tank Farm Activities on Quality of Air
  1. Dust emissions during construction phase due to site clearing and excavation work. The airborne particulate matter mixed with the exhaust fumes from diesel engine vehicles (loaders and excavators) adds to the ambient air composition. The effect of construction related air pollution is usually short-term and restricted to the area.
  2. Accumulation of vapour in storage tank and odour emanation. This may accumulate to toxic concentration levels in confined spaces like tank head space.

Since, the Apapa tank farm is situate as it is now within residential and commercial dwellings, personnel on site are not the only ones who become the human receptors who are impacted by odour emanation. Tank farm owners must provide for well-designed equipment to vent the storage tanks and prevent accumulation of vapours in the head spaces of the storage tanks. However, odour should not be used as a warning property of toxic levels because odorous emanation such as H2S can overwhelm and deaden the sense of smell.



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