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.
- 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 . 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:
- Provide an understanding of how the identified main source leads to fire at Uyo Village
- 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:
- What is the main source of fire at Uyo Village, and what are its causes?
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- The extent of environmental impacts from the fire at Uyo Village waste facility is not studied
- 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.[email protected][email protected]