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J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No.

1, pp 7-14 [2018]


Akinfolarin, O.M., Obunwo, C.C. and Boisa, N.
Department of Chemistry, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Corresponding email:

Received 22 September 2017; accepted 23 December 2017, published online 26 January 2018

Recent observation of emission of soot in Port Harcourt has necessitated the determination of air
quality characteristics of three emerging industrial areas, Rumuolumeni, Eleme and Oginigba in the
metropolis. A rural area, Omuanwa, distant from the study areas, served as control. Air quality
parameters were measured using portable digital hand held air monitors. The study covered wet and
dry season periods. The results showed that relative humidity levels in the wet season (65.28±2.53% -
69.85±2.23%) were higher than in the dry season (46.37±2.76% - 54.78±12.72%). The mean
concentrations of the particulates matters (PM1, PM2.5, PM7, PM10 and TSP) obtained for dry season
in all the sampling sites were higher than those of the wet season. Also, the observed trend in levels of
TSP in either season was Rumuolumeni > Oginigba > Eleme. Mean temperature values of ambient
air for Eleme, Oginigba, Rumuolumeni were 31.47±0.49OC, 30.52±0.60oC and 30.03±0.70oC for
wet season and 33.38±0.55oC, 30.07±0.94oC and 29.20±1.53oC for dry respectively. Gases such as
NO, NO2, SO2, CO, VOCs and NH3 were below detection limits at the study area indicating that the
emerging industrial areas might not be responsible for the emissions of soot in Port Harcourt.
However, the high levels of TSP (exceeding standard limits) might pose serious threat to environment
and health of the inhabitants of Port Harcourt metropolis.
Keywords: Air quality characteristic, air pollutants, emerging industrial areas, Port Harcourt.

Introduction Nigerians were exposed to air pollution levels

Contamination of air arising from that exceeded World Health Organization
anthropogenic inputs has been a global (WHO) guidelines [4]. Furthermore, it was
concern as a result of the health effects believed that polluted air killed more people
associated with it. High levels of gases (such worldwide than AIDS, malaria, breast cancer,
as SO2, NO2, CO, and hydrocarbons) and or tuberculosis [5]. Also, the United Nations
particulates tend to pollute the atmosphere as Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated
they cause harmful effects to environment and that some 600,000 people would die in Africa
human health [1,2]. Consequently, air every year as a result of air pollution [6].
pollution evolves as a major environmental Comparing the large volume and varieties of
concern in modern day if there are no assessments carried out in the developed
effective control measures. countries, exposure studies in Nigeria are
United Nations records on the impact of air relatively scarce [7]. This may be due to lack
pollution in Africa have been scary [3]. In of adequate air-monitoring equipment to
2015, the World Bank reported 94 percent of determine air quality on a day to day basis;

J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 7-14 [2018]

lack of requisite staff to monitor the impacts annual level in excess of 3000mm. Though it
of companies operating and/or lack of rains throughout the year, November to
adequate environmental impact assessment January is its lowest rainfall period.
(EIA) properly vetted and approved by December, on average, is the driest month of
regulatory bodies. the year. Rainfall gradually increases from
One of the major environmental problems February to June when it experiences the first
facing the Niger Delta Area (NDA) is air peak which is followed by the second peak in
pollution. [8-16]. Recent, news concerning September. Temperature throughout the year
the emission of soot broke out in the city of in the city is relatively constant showing little
Port Harcourt, south-south region of Nigeria. variation throughout the course of a year.
There has been complaints by the inhabitants Average temperatures are typically between
of waking up to see black particles settled on 25- 280C [19, 20].
their cars, black dirt in the nostrils when Description of sampling areas and points:
cleaned up with handkerchief, clothes got The sampling areas were selected to cover
stained, difficult breathing, wheezing and Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs.
sneezing. The soot problem is suggested that The following areas were sampled: Emerging
some to be due to incomplete combustion of industrial areas, namely, Rumuolumeni
fossil fuels, bio-mass, burning of tires and the (within Port Harcourt), Oginigba (along
illegal artisanal refinery operations. It has Trans-Amadi layout), Eleme (an outskirt of
been found to pose serious threat to human Port Harcourt) and a non industrial area,
health agriculture and climate [17,18]. Omuanwa (in Ikwere LGA as control).
It was also suggested that some emerging Activities around these areas were
industrial areas could be responsible for the commercial and construction works at
indiscriminate emissions of the obnoxious Rumuolumeni, commercial and cement block
gases. This consideration necessitated the molding at Ogingba, Industrial and sand
authors assessment of the air quality status of dredging at Eleme, while farming was
three emerging industrial sites in Port predominant at Omuanwa. Figure 1 shows
Harcourt metropolis. the map of Port Harcourt and the sampling
Sampling: Eleven points were sampled: 3
Materials and Methods points each from Rumuolumeni, Oginigba,
Study Area: The study was carried out in Port and Eleme (industrial areas) and two points at
Harcourt, the capital city of Rivers State, the Omuanwa (non industrial area) which serves
hub of oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Port as control, all coordinates listed in Table 1.
Harcourt is located between latitudes 4 0 49/ Analysis of ambient air and air pollutants
27// N and longitudes 70 2/ 1// E. It lies along measurement methods were those approved
the Bonny River and is located in the Niger by American Standard for Testing and
Delta of the southern Nigeria. The metropolis Material (ASTM, 2011) [18] for specific
stretches from Borokiri Peninsula to the parameters. Potential air contaminants
International airport at Omagwa. The other measured in the study area included
span of the metropolis stretches from the suspended particulate matter - SPM (PM1,
Refinery at Eleme to the University of Port PM2.5, PM7, PM10, TSP); gaseous emissions
Harcourt at Choba Community. The entire such as sulphur (IV) dioxide (S02), nitrogen
Port Harcourt metropolis is an area between (IV) oxide (NO2), carbon (II) oxide (CO),
1300 and 1800km2 with a population of over methane (CH4), volatile organic compounds
six million. [18]. (VOCs), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), ammonia
Port Harcourt features a tropical wet climate (NH3); meteorological parameters like
with lengthy and heavy rainy season and very ambient temperature, wind speed, wind
short dry season. The mean monthly rainfall direction, relative
ranges between 20.7 and 434.0mm, with an

J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 7-14 [2018]



Study areas



Figure 1: Map of the study area showing sampling locations

humidity, heat radiation and atmospheric values were in order Rumuolumeni >
pressure. All equipment and meters were pre- Oginigba > Eleme for both seasons. The
calibrated before each usage for quality results showed that relative humidity levels in
assurance purposes. The pieces of sampling the wet season with mean values of
equipment used were portable digital hand 65.28±2.53% at Eleme, 66.25±1.47% at
held air monitors. These monitors include: Oginigba and 69.85±2.23% at Rumuolumeni
Scientific Drager X-am 5000 Multi-gas were higher than those obtained in the dry
monitor for O2, CO, SO2, NH3, NO2, CH4, season with mean values of 46.37±2.76%,
VOC, H2S; Aerocet 531 monitor for SPM; 47.77±2.07% and 54.78±12.72% for Eleme,
Kestrel 4200 for temperature, wind velocity, Ogonigba and Rumuolumeni respectively
wind direction, relative humidity, (Table 2). Gobo et al., 2012 reported similar
atmospheric pressure; Pyrometer for heat result in the wet season ranging from 62.5% to
radiation and Digital noise meter for noise 70.1%, while dry season ranged from 41.8% to
level. Sampling points coordinates were 59.9% [22]. High relative humidity has an
obtained with hand-held automated GPS effect of subsiding particulates and dissolving
(Table 1). gaseous emissions. However, there was no
Statistical analysis: Statistical analysis was significant difference between the means of
carried out using IBM SPSS 20. dry and wet seasons at Rumuolumeni (p
>0.05). There were significant differences
Results and Discussion between the means at Oginigba and Eleme (p
The results of meteorological data, gaseous <0.05). This difference could be due to the
emissions and particulate matters are proximity and direction of wind blow from
presented in Tables 2 – 4. Oginigba and Eleme streams to the points of
Relative humidity: The field relative humidity sampling. Also humidity level is higher in
J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 7-14 [2018]

wet than in dry season [22]. human health point of view [29].
Air temperature: The trend showed that Air quality gaseous emission: Of all the air
Eleme >Oginigba > Rumuolumeni for both quality parameters including NO, O2, NO2,
seasons with mean temperature of SO2, CO, NH3, H2S and VOCs measured
31.47±0.49oC, 30.52±0.60oC and during the study, only oxygen (O2) was
30.03±0.70oC; 33.38±0.55oC, 30.07±0.94oC detected. It was measured to be 20.90ppm
and 29.20±1.53oC wet and dry periods (Table 3) at the monitored locations. Similar
respectively (Table 2). This observable results was reported by Ewona et al., 2013
expected trend is in contrast to relative following a study on ‘Air quality and
humidity and corresponds to heat generated Environmental Health in Calabar, Cross River
within the monitoring location that imparts State, Nigeria’. The gaseous substances (NO 2,
to the receiving environment. Ali and Athar, NO, SO2, H2S, CO, CO2, VOC, NH3 and
2008 reported temperature range of 17 – CH4) were zero while some were < 0.1ppm
22oC following a study on air quality for both dry and wet season [13]. Also, Ede et
monitoring along three sections of national al., 2010 did a study on air quality around
highway, Pakistan [27]. Literature has is that local palm oil mills plants in Niger Delta and
temperature has a positive correlation to the reported that VOCs, NOx, SOx and CO were
concentration of particulate matters but a below detection limits in some sampling sites
negative correlation to relative humidity [28] [10]. Though, NO, O2, NO2, SO2, CO are
Wind Pattern: During the Air quality combustion products thus being expected in
monitoring, the wind pattern was characterized the area of high operational activities such as
by small diurnal variation influenced by land automobile exhaust, fumes from grinding
breezes resulting from the activities of the area activities and dredging work. Their non-
such as dredging of sand, vehicular movement detection in any of the sampling points could
and moulding of block. The wind speed was be an indication that emerging industrial areas
< 1.5m/s for both wet and dry seasons in all might not be responsible for the emissions of
sampling sites (Table 2). Reduced wind speed soot in Port Harcourt. Also, low operational
can imply poor ventilation of pollutants from practice and better maintenance of the
these areas leading to increased exposure to identified combustion sources are maintained.
pollutants which can be problematic from

Table 1: Geographical co-ordinates of sampling stations

Station Name Geographical coordinates
1 Rumuolumeni N 04o 48/ 49.3//E 006o 57/ 52.9//
2 N 04o 43/ 54.9//E 006o 57/ 48.2//
3 N 04o 49/ 02.6//E 006o 57/ 45.5//
4 Oginigba N 04o 50/ 13.2//E 007o 02/ 06.4//
5 N 04o 50/ 27.4//E 007o 01/ 50.5//
6 N 04o 50/ 39.7// E 007o 01/ 43.1//
7 Eleme N 04o 48/ 24.5//E 007o 05/ 58.7//
8 N 04o 43/ 28.4//E 007o 06/ 02.2//
9 N 04o 48/ 30.4//E 007o 06/ 06.8//
10 Omuanwa N 05o 01/ 15.0//E 006o 52/ 12.8//
11 N 05o 01/ 09.3//E 006o 52/ 19.1//

Table 2: Mean seasonal measurement of meteorological parameters

Wet Dry
Temperature Relative Wind Temperature Relative Wind
(oC) speed (oC) Humidity (%) speed
Humidity (m/s) (m/s)
Rumuolumeni 30.03±0.70 69.85±2.23 1.03±0.35 29.20±1.53 54.78±12.72 0.60±0.10

J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 7-14 [2018]

Oginigba 30.52±0.60 66.25±1.47 1.07±0.06 30.07±0.94 47.77±2.07 1.00±0.05

Eleme 31.47±0.49 65.28±2.53 0.92±0.25 33.38±0.55 46.37±2.76 0.73±0.18

Omuanwa 29.23±0.61 70.23±0.50 1.08±0.13 34.75±0.64 42.93±0.81 0.85±0.14

Table 3: Field Measured 1-Hour Air Quality Parameters

Sampling Concentration in ppm
Stations NH3 CO SO2 NO2 VOC H2S O2 CH4
Rumuolumeni BDL BDL BDL BDL BDL BDL 20.90 BDL
DPR Limit - 10.0 100-150 150 - - -
FME Limit - 11-22.8 26-260 75-113 160 - -
*BDL Below detection limit (0.001)

Particulates: As reported in Table 4, the mean the DPR and FME limit of 150 ˗ 230µg/m3 and
levels of all the PMs and TSP were least in 150µg/m3 air quality gathering respectively. At
Omuanwa being the control except for TSP, the dry season monitoring, the levels were:
dry season were high above FME limit (Table Rumuolumeni (1454.43µg/m3), Oginigba
4). The concentrations at Omuanwa when (1150.47 µg/m3) and Eleme (1003.97µg/m3),
compared with the three emerging industrial these levels were above the DPR and FME set
sites of Rumuolumeni, Oginigba and Eleme limit. The 10µm size particles reaches lungs,
were much lower at both dry and wet seasons. deposits along the respiratory tract and causes
The low levels reported may be due to little or asthma or even lung cancer. The TSP levels at
no industrial activities while the high level all sampling sites were high during dry season
observed may be due to exhaust of polluting which may be due to increased dust particles
diesel vehicles or forest fires. Fine particulates, [10, 22], while low level recorded during wet
solid or liquid, 1 ˗ 2.5µm or less in size (PM1, season may be as a result of particulates being
PM2.5) were higher in dry season than those of removed from atmosphere by vegetation and
wet season. Similarly, coarse particulates of > incessant rainfall. The high levels of TSP
2.5µm ≤ 10µm in size (PM10) and also TSP above DPR and FME limits of 250 and 150 -
were higher in dry season than those in wet 230 µg/m3 respectively may be attributed to
season as well. The concentrations of PM1, the recent soot incident as reported in Port
PM2.5, PM7 and PM10 at the dry season were at Harcourt since November 2016, which may be
least two times those of wet season. Similar released by incomplete combustion of ill
high levels of particulates matters in dry managed coal fired power plants, forest fires,
season were also reported by Ede et al., 2010; cement dust, illegal refineries, burning of tyres
Gobo et al., 2012 and Bada et al., 2013 in order to access the copper imbedded in
[10,22,30]. This may be attributed to high them. These particulates could be blown by
dispersion in dry season than in wet season. wind and got mixed with air.
Also, heavy rainfalls scavenge the atmosphere Particulate matter may cause damage by
of pollutants emitted from natural and discoloring/destroying painted surfaces,
anthropogenic non-point sources [22]. In wet corrode metals and building surfaces, soil
season, the observed levels of suspended textiles and clothing. It may lead to climate
particulate matter (TSP) in all the sampling change such as net cooling for refractive
location areas were as follows: Rumuolumeni particles and while some soots absorb energy
(169.85µg/m3), Oginigba (89.57 µg/m3) and and lead to warming and others change timing
Eleme (74.50µg/m3) and they were all below and location of traditional rainfall pattern [22,
J. Chem Soc. Nigeria, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 7-14 [2018]


Table 4: Mean seasonal levels of particulate matter

g Points

Concentration in (µg/m3 x 101)

Wet Dry
PM1 PM2.5 PM7 PM10 TSP PM1 PM2.5 PM7 PM10 TSP

8.23 16.52 27.95 54.17 169.85 44.20 222.95 624.22 1139.63 1454.43
±0.99 ±6.91 ±5.25 ±26.35 ±21.36 ±5.88 ±36.08 ±124.65 ±851.20 ±1092.86

16.47 26.17 30.03 50.40 89.57 38.95 199.70 385.80 1099.45 1150.47
±3.67 ±8.08 ±5.41 ±13.08 ±68.55 ±3.60 ±87.17 ±4.56 ±260.27 ±55.73
13.78 22.75 36.55 78.78 74.50 42.97 174.62 399.27 1053.97 1003.97
±3.67 ±10.50 ±20.94 ±56.45 ±50.12 ±6.72 ±7.88 ±22.47 ±97.30 ±59.24

4.17 5.52 8.97 11.45 31.52 36.07 150.27 353.93 516.73 1011.20
±1.87 ±2.49 ±4.37 ±5.14 ±3.49 ±1.02 ±9.16 ±0.60 ±479.24 ±15.06

DPR Limit - - - - - - 150 -230

- -
- -
FME - - - - - - 250
- -

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