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Environmental Effect Of Fire On Waste Plant And The Near By Aquatic Ecosystem. The case study is Uyo village road in Akwa Ibom state


The amount of waste produced in Akwa-Ibom has been increased considerably in the past decades as a result of population and economic growth. Therefore, the role of waste management companies in society has become more important. One of the significant challenges in the waste facilities is the fire that occurs regularly and causes various problems for the waste management companies. Several causes can ignite the fire in waste facilities, such as friction, improper storage of waste, technical and electrical failure, and human error.


This master’s thesis investigates the main source of fire and its root causes at Uyo Village waste facility in Awka-Ibom State. Fire has become a frequent problem at Uyo Village waste facility, and a total of 31 fire incidents have been recorded in the past five years. For identifying the main source of fire and its causes at Uyo Village, historical data of fire incidents at Uyo Village together with expert judgment are collected and analyzed. All causes of fire at Uyo Village are identified and classified using the cause-and-effect chart. The identified causes of fire are further analyzed through the Root Cause Analysis to determine the root causes of fire at Uyo Village. Further, several measures are proposed to reduce the number of fire incidents at Uyo Village waste facility.

The study therefore concludes by recommending that the state and local governments need to improve the level of community preparedness against fire outbreak by providing adequate community fire safety apparatus. Moreover, there is need to enlighten the residents on fire safety, prevention and management strategies which is believed to go a long way to assisting the communities build a strong and permanent firefighting mechanism in the study area.


Chapter One                                             


  • Background to the Study

The term waste has been described as any substance or object which the holder disposes of or is required to dispose of according to the provisions of national law in force. The amount of produced waste in the world has been steadily rising as a result of the growing population and urbanisation. The greatest share of the generated waste is from industrial activities, manufacturing processes, and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (Kan, 2009). MSW can be explained as durable waste goods, nondurable goods, containers and packaging, food scraps, yard trimmings, and miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential, commercial, and industrial sources (Demirbas, 2011).

Waste management is considered one of the world’s foremost environmental concerns (Demirbas, 2011). Fire in waste facilities is a major problem that occurs frequently, and it has numerous environmental impacts (Mikalsen et al., 2021; Mikalsen et al., 2019). Earlier studies have shown that high emissions levels are produced annually due to the fire in municipal waste (Mikalsen et al., 2021). Moreover, it can usually be challenging to extinguish fires occurring in waste storage facilities. Some of the reasons are that several sources of ignition and considerable amounts of fuel are available in the waste facilities. Therefore, fire in waste facilities can cause significant pollutions to the environment. It can affect surrounding residential areas and other societal functions due to significant emissions over a long period. So, smoke emissions and a run-off of extinguishing water can have negative consequences for the environment. (Lönnermark et al., 2008; Mikalsen et al., 2019). Fire risk management in waste facilities is essential. This is because waste facilities represent an essential societal function, and fire in waste facilities can affect the whole society. By avoiding fire, interruptions in production can be avoided both at the waste facilities and nearby businesses. Preventing fire in waste facilities and handling it appropriately can also contribute to environmental sustainability with fewer emissions to the air and reduce health consequences for the inhabitants in the neighbourhood (Mikalsen et al., 2019).

he components of creation consist of living and non-living things. The living things constitute the biotic  components  which,  broadly  put,  include man,  animal  and  plant  of  different  forms  and sizes.  The  non-living  or  abiotic  components include  rocks,  soil,  water,  air  and  man-made structures  of  our  environment.  In  nature,  the environment  could  function  in  a  homeostatic state if adequate attention were paid to its natural ecology  in  relation  to  its utilisation.  Robbins (2012) defined  ecology  simply  as  the  relationship between living organisms and their environme. Ecology therefore strives to maintain stability in a given ecosystem, be it natural or man-made, as a  result  of  the  relationship  or  interacting processes of the component units. The science of  ecology  is  basically  concerned  with  the environment of all plants and animals and so Routley (2018) warned  that  we  should  be  constrained  by  the principles  of  ecology  when  altering  the environment. Man’s impact on the environment is principally as a result of his quest to meet basic needs,  while  the  rate  of  modification  of  the environment  is  dependent  on  technological development of modern civilisation.  Man, more than any other creature, has had an overwhelming influence, with dire consequences on  the  environment  due  to  the  neglect  of  the ecology of its components. The world today has witnessed  a  faster  rate  of urbanisation, industrialisation,  transportation,  new  farming techniques, improved information communication technology  (ICT),  etc.  which  has  reduced  the world into a global village at the press of button. Human  population,  especially  in  the  so  called developing  countries  has  also  increased tremendously over the years due to improvement in  medicare  and  sanitation.  The  immediate consequence  of  improved  human  existence  is the  over-exploitation  of  available  natural resources  which,  ironically,  impoverishes  man and his environment in the process. So it is with urbanisation in Nigeria. Urbanisation is a process of transformation  of a hitherto  rural setting  into  a town  or  city by  the provision of certain  amenities and  infrastructure that encourage people to live together to pursue their various goals. Shia and Chana (2013) defined urbanisation as a process  of population  concentration which proceeds  through the  multiplication of points  of concentration  and  the  increase  in  the  size  of individual concentration seems quite appropriate. The  Federal office  of statistics  according to   defined an urban centre in Nigeria as a clustered settlement  with  a  population  of  20,000  and above.   The  most  significant  effect  of urbanisation is observed in new land use pattern and change in land  cover,  together  with  the  concentration  of population  within  a  designated  land  area.  In nature, an undisturbed  ecosystem is a  complex structure  whatever  the  vegetation  type. Urbanisation,  especially  in  the tropics,  involves the  destruction of  existing  plant  cover to  make room  for  buildings  and  other  infrastructural provisions such as roads and stadium. This leads ultimately  to  the  loss  of  ecosystem  complexity and  the  collapse  of  its  structure  due  to  the change in land use.


1.2       Statement of the Problem

Fires are adverse events with tangible costs for property and human life. Quantifying the immediate and direct costs of fire provides a metric for understanding fire’s social and economic impact and assessing progress in fire prevention and protection. In addition to their most manifest physical costs, however, fires have a range of less immediate and obvious adverse consequences on the natural environment. These include air contamination from the fire plume (whose deposition is likely to subsequently include land and water contamination), contamination from water runoff containing toxic products, and other environmental discharges or releases from burned materials. Current efforts to improve the sustainability of buildings focus on increasing energy efficiency and reducing embodied carbon. This overlooks the fact that a fire event could reduce the overall sustainability of a building through the release of pollutants and the subsequent re-build. Several pieces of work exist on the quantification of the environmental impact of fire, but there is a need to pull this information together in a format suitable to be published in a mainstream technical publication and to

In Uyo waste facility, fire is a major problem, and it occurs frequently. Fire at Uyo Village has negative economic impacts on the company, and it exposes the staff to health problems. Fire damages the conveyor belts, raises the costs repairs, and increases the personnel’s risk of injuries. Additionally, fire at Uyo Village represents a challenge for the rescue services and fire departments. However, most of the ignitions are extinguished before creating a major fire. If the fire lasts for a long period, it can release high emissions into the air and affect the surrounding environment. Burning prohibited materials, such as garbage, plastic and painted or treated wood, is harmful to the environment because these materials release toxic chemicals that pollute our air. Polluted air can be inhaled by humans and animals, and deposited in the soil and surface water and on plants.

Residue from burning contaminates the soil and groundwater and can enter the human food chain through crops and livestock. In addition, certain chemicals released by burning can accumulate in the fats of animals and then in humans as we consume meat, fish and dairy products. Smoke and soot can travel long distances. Odors can be bothersome to people. Both odors and smoke residue can enter houses or can impact anything outside of houses, like cars or hanging laundry. The gases released by open burning can also corrode metal siding and damage paint on buildings. When household waste, like wood and leaves, are burned, they produce smoke, which contains vapors and particulate matter (solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air). Air pollution from smoke can impact human health.


People exposed to these air pollutants can experience eye and nose irritation, difficulty breathing, coughing and headaches. People with heart disease, asthma, emphysema or other respiratory diseases are especially sensitive to air pollutants. Other health problems aggravated by burning include lung infections, pneumonia, bronchiolitis and allergies. The tradeoffs of urbanisation are easily felt in deforestation leading to  loss of biodiversity,  soil  degradation,  air  and  water pollution  and  climate  change.  These environmental  perturbations  have  serious implications  on the  health  and wellbeing  of the people who become victims of their own actions in the pursuit of good life.  Uyo, from time immemorial, existed as  a village until the  concept of urbanisation came  with the advent of colonisation to West Africa in the  19th century. The process of urbanisation of Uyo was gradual. The initial population was small and the environment was relatively stable.  However, the population of Uyo had since grown, for instance, from 96,386 in 1963 to 234,615 in 1991 and 309, 573 in 2006 , probably by virtue of it becoming a  state  capital  on  the  creation  of  Akwa  Ibom State  in  1987.  Today,  Uyo  is  fast  expanding, transformed  and modernised.  By  2006,  the population  density  of  Uyo  with  a  landmass  of 284.72 km2 stood at 1,087/km2 [6].  The  initial urbanisation of  Uyo  which concentrated  around  the  city centre  of  what  is today  designated  as  the  IBOM  PLAZA,  has expanded to hitherto remote areas of Mbiabong, Etoi,  Afaha  Oku,  Ikot  Oku  Ubo,  Ofot,  Osong Ama, Itam and Mbierebe. This has posed serious challenges to the  ecology  of the city which this study seeks to address. There is strong need to carry  out  an  in-depth  assessment  of  the consequences of the urbanisation of Uyo with regard to  the  ecology  of  the  city.  This  explored observable changes in the environmental quality of the city especially its land cover, air and water quality, biodiversity and local climate. This study therefore, investigates, the environmental effect of fire on waste plant and the near by aquatic ecosystem, the case study is Uyo village road in Akwa Ibom state

1.3       Aim and objective of the research

This research aims to environmental effect of fire on waste plant and the nearby aquatic ecosystem, the case study is Uyo village road in Akwa Ibom state. The objectives of this thesis are to:

  1. Provide an understanding of how the identified main source leads to fire at Uyo Village
  2. Evaluate how environmental fire affects waste plants
  • Examine the impact of environmental fire on the aquatic ecosystem


1.4       Research questions

The following research questions are defined to ensure this study is directed toward achieving the aim and objectives of the research:

  1. What is the main source of fire at Uyo Village, and what are its causes?
  2. In what ways does environmental fire affect waste plants?
  • What is the impact of environmental fire on the ecosystem?


1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho1: Environmental fire does not significantly affect waste plants

Ho2: Environmental fire does not significantly affect aquatic ecosystems


1.5       Significance of the Study

This study contributes to the existing literature on the environmental impact of elements such as fire on the acquatic ecosystem. Environmental aspects are elements of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. Environmental aspects associated with UT-Battelle activities, products, and services have been identified at the project and activity levels. Activities that are relative to any of these aspects are carefully controlled to minimize or eliminate impacts to the environment.

The study would also be of importance to policymakers by providing solutions on the fire menace and the burning of waste.

1.6       Scope of the Study

The following limitations were set up for this research that was mostly due to limited time and required resources:

  1. This thesis only focused on investigating the main source of fire at Uyo Village waste facility and did not analyse the other sources of fire
  2. The efficiency of extinguishing techniques used at Uyo Village waste facility is not studied
  • The compliance of activities at Uyo Village regarding fire with the Nigerian laws and regulations are not investigated
  1. The extent of environmental impacts from the fire at Uyo Village waste facility is not studied
  2. While conducting the Delphi method, the questionnaires were sent out to all the experts involved in the research, but only four out of seven experts participated. So, the results of this thesis are based on the opinion of a limited number of experts at Uyo Village.

1.7       Definition of Terms

A waste-to-energy plant is a waste management facility that combusts wastes to produce electricity. This type of power plant is sometimes called a trash-to-energy, municipal waste incineration, energy recovery, or resource recovery plant.


An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. They are contrasted with terrestrial ecosystems which are those found on land. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems.

Environmental assessment is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.


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