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IMPACT OF MARINE POLLUTION ON SHIPPING OPERATION AND AQUATIC LIFE
Marine pollution occurs when harmful, or potentially harmful, effects result from the entry into the ocean of chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural and residential waste, noise, or the spread of invasive organisms. Eighty percent of marine pollution comes from land. Air pollution is also a contributing factor by carrying off pesticides or dirt into the ocean. Land and air pollution have proven to be harmful to marine life and its habitats.
The pollution often comes from non point sources such as agricultural runoff, wind-blown debris and dust. Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution, refers to contamination by excessive inputs of nutrients. It is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters, in which excess nutrients, usually nitrogen or phosphorus, stimulate algae growth.
Many potentially toxic chemicals adhere to tiny particles which are then taken up by plankton and benthos animals, most of which are either deposit or filter feeders. In this way, the toxins are concentrated upward within ocean food chains. Many particles combine chemically in a manner highly depletive of oxygen, causing estuaries to become anoxic.
When pesticides are incorporated into the marine ecosystem, they quickly become absorbed into marine food webs. Once in the food webs, these pesticides can cause mutations, as well as diseases, which can be harmful to humans as well as the entire food web.
Toxic metals can also be introduced into marine food webs. These can cause a change to tissue matter, biochemistry, behaviour, reproduction, and suppress growth in marine life. Also, many animal feeds have a high fish meal or fish hydrolysate content. In this way, marine toxins can be transferred to land animals, and appear later in meat and dairy products.
Around 90% of world trading is carried out by the shipping industry. Shipping is well thought-out as a safe, economical, and environmental form of commercial transport. Although increasing cases draws public attention to marine pollution, the statistics show a slow but steady decline in maritime pollution over the past 10 years. This decade follows the general shipping safety improvement trend that took place over the 20th century. Records showed a rate of loss of 1% a year in 1910; this rate has improved to the figure of about one ship in every 670 in 2010. Shipping is also a highly regulated domain, and regulations have been reinforced in the last two decades. The main principles underlying shipping regulations are harmonized national
Marine pollution have potentially harmful effects on the health and livelihood of nearby communities, e.g like gas flaring as they release poisonous chemicals including nitrogen dioxides, sulphurdioxide volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, xylene and hydrogen sulfide, as well as carcinogens like benzapyrene and dioxins. Humans exposed to such substances can suffer from respiratory problems. These chemicals can aggravate asthma, cause breathing difficulties and pain, as well as chronic bronchitis. Benzene, known to be emitted from chemical in water in undocumented quantities, is well recognized as a cause for leukemia and other blood-related diseases. A study done by Climate Justice estimates that exposure to benzene would result in eight new cases of cancer yearly in Bayelsa State alone.
Marine pollution like gas flaring is often close to communities and regularly lack fencing or protections for villagers who risk working near their heat and water. Many communities claim that nearby marine pollution cause acid rain which corrodes their homes and other structures, many of which have zinc-based roofing. Some people resort to using asbestos-based material, which is stronger in repelling acid rain deterioration. Unfortunately, this contributes to their declining health and the health of their environment. Asbestos exposure increases the risk of forminglung cancer, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Whether or not flares contribute to acid rain is debatable, as some independent studies conducted have found that the sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide content of most flares was insufficient to establish a link between flaring and acid rain. Other studies from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that gas flaring is “a major contributor to air pollution and acid rain.”
Older flares are rarely relocated away from villages and are known to coat the land and communities with soot and to damage adjacent vegetation. Almost no vegetation can grow in the area directly surrounding the flares due to their heat.
In November 2005 a judgment by the Federal High Court of Nigeria ordered that gas flaring must stop in a Niger Delta community as it violates guaranteed constitutional rights to life and dignity. In a case brought against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (Shell), Justice C. V. Nwokorie ruled in Benin City that “the damaging and wasteful practice of flaring cannot lawfully continue.” As of May 2011, Shell had not ceased gas flaring in Nigeria.
The incessant problem of environmental pollution and degradation especially of the marine environment occasioned by oil spill, exploitation and lifting, gas flaring, and introduction of Noxious and harmful substances into the marine environment has over the years caused the destruction of aquatic life, vegetation and the ecosystem. Ironically, the above problem has never been given adequate national attention. Unwholesome practices of ships engaged in coastal trade in Nigeria territorial waters such as sewage disposal at sea, introduction of hazardous substances into sea, chemical fishing activities and even abandonment of wrecks has equally constituted a serious problem of marine environmental pollution and this has continued to go on unchecked. This problem has invariably alienated the indigenes of the affected geographical regions from their traditional sources of earning good living which is fishing and agriculture, thus subjecting them to un told hardship.
Furthermore it has impacted negatively to the development of the Nigeria maritime transport system
1.3 Significance of the study
Since marine environmental pollution IS L.’1e introduction into the marine environment and adjacent lands, any substance capable of causing an undesirable and harmful change within the environment and ecosystem, The region depends a lot on the environment for its living and any adverse alteration of the environment will affect adversely the living pattern and standard of the people. The collapse of the marine environment will mean the collapse of the agricultural and economic activities going on in it, and invariably the collapse of the people s standard of living especially in the Niger Delta where majority depends on the marine environment for fishing. farming as well as transportation. A study on the evaluation of marine pollution and the effects in Nigeria is therefore important and significant because it will alert maritime practitioners on the need to protect the marine environment from hazardous effects of environmental pollution. Moreover, the study will enlighten the government on the need to save the region from the untold hardship being caused by oil spillage in the area so as to attract interest to the need for the preservation of the regions traditional occupation of fishing and farming and enthroning a healthy environment. The research will equally be important to students of maritime colleges for reference purpose
1.4 Objectives of the study
This study was undertaken majorly to assess the effect marine pollution in sub Saharan Africa and its impact on shipping operation and marine environment in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Specific objectives of the study are:
1.5 Research questions
During the course of the study, the researcher seeks to provide suitable answers to the problem following the questions below:
1.6 Research hypotheses
Ho: Marine pollution in the Niger Delta does not affect the community of living organisms in the environment.
Hi: Marine pollution in the Niger Delta affects the community of living organisms in the environment.
Ho: There is no significant impact of shipping operation and marine environment the Niger Deltas of Nigeria.
Hi: There is significant impact of shipping operation and marine environment the Niger Deltas of Nigeria.
1.7 Limitations of the study
The study was carried out to investigate the effect of marine pollution in sub Saharan Africa: analysis of the impacts to shipping operations and marine environment in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The study is limited to the refineries in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This is because of her representative nature of all the refineries in Nigeria, proximity to the researcher, time and financial constraints.
1.8 Scope of the study
This research work is on the effect marine pollution in sub saharan africa: analysis of the impacts to shipping operations and marine environment in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria with particular emphasis on how it affects the community of living organisms in the environment, with a view to proffer lasting solutions.
1.9 Definition of terms
Gas: This is an air-like fluid substance which expands freely to fill any space available, irrespective of its quantity.
Gas flaring:This is the burning of natural gas that is associated with crude oil when it is pumped up from the ground.
Ecosystem:An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.
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