Assessing Timber Operations as it Affects the Health and Environmental Conditions of the Coastal Area of Ebute Metta, Lagos

The proposal herein is a draft work for a project Somtochukwu Udo-Azugo would love to carry out to assess the health and environmental effects of timber operations in Ebute Metta, I wish to seek advice and partnership for a successful project executions. (You could contact him via mail: somtochukwu.chilo@gmail.com)

Background:

Ebute Metta is a neighbourhood of Lagos Main landin Lagos State, Nigeria. Ebute Metta is a Yoruba word for a place known as three shores, Ebute means shore and Metta means three (Aderinto, S. et al. 2013). Years’ ago, Ebute Metta was known for the production and sales of local food and cloths. It is known as a very old part of Lagos, many of its houses were built during the colonial era. The area includes the St Jude's church and school, African Salem church/school, and the Salvation Army church. The imposing Lisabi Hall leads to the Okobaba area with its lagoon background. However, the present Ebute Metta is popular for sawmills and timber markets located in the area. Those large timbers are logged trees transported through the waterways from areas suspected to be in Ondo and other neighbouring states where there are remnant forests with good timber stock going underneath the popular 3rd mainland bridge to the various saw mills laying along the shorelines of Okobaba and Makoko in Ebute Metta.

Justification:

Communities once known for fishing and high catch have experienced a decline in fish catch due to discharged bio-degradable wood wastes, shavings and leachate from sawmill located along the lagoon which are sources of inert substance as well as toxic pollutants that obstruct fish sill and indirectly reduce light penetration which limits productivity and contaminates the aquatic environment making aquatic organism vulnerable (FAO 1991). These wood residue leachate is produced when water percolates or flows through wood residue; storing wood waste in pits where it has contact with groundwater creates another source of leachate and probably these communities lack access to pipe bore water. These wood wastes often contain significant spectrum of organic substances capable of producing adverse effects on the physical, chemical and biotic or indirectly affect human health (FAO 1991). The present environmental and living condition of the study area could affect the health conditions of the environs and it can cause an outbreak of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses as the quality of the water sources is yet to be defined for the safety of the communities. There is also clear scientific evidence that wood waste if improperly managed, wood residue can negatively impact the environment. However, this increases occurrence of parasites as some wood species identified as causing nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), a carcinogenic substance affecting the respiratory organs of its host/victim. The project will evaluate the effects of wood waste, on the health and environmental challenges to the environs and to advocate a sustainable environment.

 

Objective of the Assessment

· To identify and advise healthy and sustainable means of operation (saw mills).

· To ascertain water quality as it’s affects the environment and human health.

· To advocate sustainable sources of livelihood.

 

Methodology:

Water Analysis: The residence of Ebute Metta rely on wells, cisterns and other privately owned water sources for water supply, however the safety of the water is perhaps influenced by the toxicity of the body as it is likely contaminated by leachate which can seep into ground water and unprotected water source can be easily contaminated and unsafe for human consumption and this can also cause irritations and gastrointestinal and stomach illnesses such as vomiting, skin rashes, cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and cancer. Water samples from the coast lines will be collected and sent to the laboratory for sampling to identify possibly toxicity level and to proffer solutions for sustainable and healthy development of the host communities.

Health Record Assessment: The respiratory health records of the community members and wood shaving operators will be assessed to evaluate the health impacts and effects of the saw dust to the host communities. The records will be assessed using a questionnaire survey for enquiry from hospitals and health facilities to ascertain the possible health conditions of the community members.

Focus Group Discussions: Meetings would be scheduled with community leaders and market representatives with an aim to foster solutions to the environmental challenges faced in the area. Healthy and sustainable wood operation exercises will be discussed and taught.

 

Generally, the assessment calls for effort to accelerate good environmental culture. If identified and addressed would assist Nigerians to improve on health, environmental cleanliness and conservation. This assessment would enable policy makers proffer lasting solution to the highly polluted environment, improve sustainable livelihood, source ways to further use these saw dust to form briquette in place of fire wood and advice access to portable water for the community members.

                                        

Purpose/Reason for the research:

This study/research is being carried out to ascertain the level of toxicity of the water body by analyzing water samples in a laboratory (water quality analysis) and also carry out a survey in health institutions and facilities in the area to access health reports as it concerns the respiratory records of the environs as well as its’ impact on the socio economy of the people/ residents within the study area.