Pollution sources in the Nigerian environment and their health implications
In this paper, the various sources of environmental pollution and their implications for health are discussed. All sectors of the environment-air, water, and soil are impacted via a combination of natural and anthropogenic sources. The parameters of major concern in the Nigerian environment are discussed as well as their health impact pathways. Among the natural sources are soil dust, radioactive–containing geologic materials, sea spray and decaying vegetation, while anthropogenic sources include industries, vehicular activities, mining, agricultural practices, municipal waste disposal, radiation exposure, bush burning, domestic practices, even churches and mosques. The most common route of exposure to air pollutants is by inhalation, but direct absorption through the skin or via food and water are also important pathways. Among the health hazards identified are respiratory disease, cardiovascular problems, brain damage, cancer and others. Water is the ultimate environmental sink, hence it receives the most environmental abuse from all sectors. The major source of health impairment from water pollution is through contaminated drinking water and some of the diseases resulting therefrom are cholera, bacterial and amoebic dysentery, typhoid fever, neurological impairment, cancer, brain damage, kidney damage, polio, infectious hepatitis, and schistosomiasis. A few specific examples of incidents of environmental pollution–induced health problems in the country are discussed.