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Incessant oil spill causes breathing, skin, malnutrition problems — Experts

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Medical practitioners in Lagos have cited breathing problems, skin irritations and malnutrition as major effects of the incessant oil spill in the Niger Delta.

Some of the doctors who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday said the petroleum spill contained dangerous concentrations of benzene and other pollutants that were harmful to human health.

The Medical Director of Alimosho General Hospital in Igando, Lagos, Dr Bolaji Adebiyi, said there was health risk once water, which was an essential human need was contaminated.

“Water is a major need of every human being, and once it is contaminated with oil pollutants, access to clean water will be reduced.

“The health implication associated with this situation is that it spreads water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid, diarrhoea and so on.

“Even the skin is affected when such contaminated water is used for bathing, washing and dinking,’’ he said.

Adebiyi said that people in the affected areas are also exposed to inhaling harmful chemicals that could cause breathing problems and skin injury.

He explained that these people would have lost basic human rights such as health, access to food, clean water and when they were ill, there would be no ability to work.

An environmental health expert, Dr Ope Agboola, told NAN that agricultural land and vegetation were destroyed, thereby causing poor nutrition.

“The spills are known to acidify the soils and starve the roots of plants of vital oxygen to grow well and produce foods for consumption.

“When malnutrition sets in due to the destruction of crops by these petroleum chemicals, people will begin to experience diseases like kwashiorkor, poor growth, anaemia, goitre and many others,’’ Agboola said.

He, however, urged the Federal Government and operators in the oil industry to show concern and effective effort to control the hazardous environmental problems associated with oil spillage.



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