Assessment of Air Pollution and Health Hazard Associated with Selected Sawmills in Port Harcourt Metropolis
South Asian Journal of Research in Microbiology,
This study aimed to assess air pollution and health hazards around selected sawmills within Port Harcourt metropolis. The physicochemical parameters of the air at the sawmilling sites were determined using onsite air quality analysers. The microbiological parameters were determined using the settling plate technique and the isolates identified based on their cultural and biochemical characteristics. Results showed that estimates of the monitored physicochemical parameters varied with prevalent human activity, time of exposure and atmospheric conditions. At Rumosi, SO2, VOCs and TSP with a concentration 1.250 ppm, 550.500 ppm, 323.200 µg/m3 respectively exceeded the Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEv) & World Health Organization (WHO) limit irrespective of the atmospheric condition, time and day of sampling, while the temperature, PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 with a concentration of 39.450oC, 209 µg/m3, 348.350 µg/m3, 0.181ppm respectively varied and was within the FMEv acceptable standard. At SARS Road Sawmill 1, VOCs, PM10 and TSP exceeded the FMEv limit while at SARS Road Sawmill 2, SO2, NO2, VOCs, PM10 and TSP exceeded the FMEv limits. Microbiological analysis revealed that the bioaerosols contained 12 bacterial genera (Aeromonas, Citrobacter, Staphylococcus, Micrococcus, Klebsiella, Serratia, Pseudomonas, Proteus, Providencia, Shigella, Enterobacter and Bacillus) and 7 fungal genera (Penicillium, Fusarium, Geotrichium, Cladosporium, Rhizopus and Trichophyton and Aspergillus) with total heterotrophic bacterial count (THBC) and total fungal count (TFC) ranging from 2711-26980 CFU/m3 and 373-12851 CFU/m3 respectively. The study also showed that sawmills within Port Harcourt do not pay much attention to the provision and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as they were generally not provided. The sawmill workers commonly reported cough and chest pain which they admitted could be associated with their jobs. This study has shown that air around sawmill sites contains inhalable chemical and biological agents which could cause respiratory problems to workers with prolonged exposure and dose response. Sawmill operators should provide and enforce the use of PPE within their facility. It is recommended that sawmill workers and other visitors wear personal protective gadgets in the processing area of the sawmill factories. Further study to relate workers symptoms with emission is recommended.
- air pollution
- health hazards
- Port Harcourt
How to Cite
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