Impact of Granite Quarrying on the Health of Workers and Nearby Residents in Abeokuta Ogun State, Nigeria
The present paper monitored levels of suspended particulate matters in the ambient air in and around selected quarries and analyzed the prevalent health problems suffered by nearby residents and quarry workers. It also assessed the residents’ awareness of the negative implications of living in close proximity to quarry sites. Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) meter was employed to monitor the level of particulate matter (PM10) within and around five quarry sites selected for this study. The data collected from hospital records of quarry workers portrayed their health profile while the prevalent health problems of the nearby residents were elicited from a questionnaire survey conducted in two selected neighbouring communities of quarries. Results of the study showed that the highest mean SPM levels among the selected quarries vary between 26.03±1.36mg/m3 and 11.03±1.52mg/m3. SPM levels declined significantly (p>0.05) with distance from the drilling and crushing locations at each of the quarry sites. At 25metres away from the quarry sites, mean SPM levels reduced drastically to 4.85±0.20mg/m3 and 3.67±0.40mg/m3. Both psychological and health problems suffered by nearby residents include shock (46.0%), nasal infection (29.2%), and asthma (4.6%). The quarry workers suffered predominantly from cough (26.0%), catarrh (20.0%) and sinusitis (15.0%). Although, the residents of neighbouring communities are aware of risks associated with living near quarry sites, their general low socio-economic status made them incapable of taking any decisive measure towards relocating elsewhere.
Approval for quarry operation should mandate environmental impact assessment and ensure strict implementation of outlined mitigation measures so as to guarantee environmental sustainability.
Key words: Quarrying impact, air pollution, particulate matter, occupational health, Nigeria