Quantifying the exposure of humans and the environment to oil pollution in the Niger Delta using advanced geostatistical techniques

Obida B., Christopher and Blackburn, George Alan and Whyatt, James Duncan and Semple, Kirk Taylor (2018) Quantifying the exposure of humans and the environment to oil pollution in the Niger Delta using advanced geostatistical techniques. Environment International, 111. pp. 32-42. ISSN 0160-4120

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The Niger Delta is one of the largest oil producing regions of the world. Large numbers and volumes of oil spills have been reported in this region. What has not been quantified is the putative exposure of humans and/or the environment to this hydrocarbon pollution. In this novel study, advanced geostatistical techniques were applied to an extensive database of oil spill incidents from 2007 to 2015. The aims were to (i) identify and analyse spill hotspots along the oil pipeline network and (ii) estimate the exposure of the hydrocarbon pollution to the human population and the environment within the Niger Delta. Over the study period almost 90 million litres of oil were released. Approximately 29% of the human population living in proximity to the pipeline network has been potentially exposed to oil contamination, of which 565,000 people live within high or very high spill intensity sectors. Over 1000 km2 of land has been contaminated by oil pollution, with broadleaved forest, mangroves and agricultural land the most heavily impacted land cover types. Proximity to the coast, roads and cities are the strongest spatial factors contributing to spill occurrence, which largely determine the accessibility of sites for pipeline sabotage and oil theft. Overall, the findings demonstrate the high levels of environmental and human exposure to hydrocarbon pollutants in the Niger Delta. These results provide evidence with which to spatially target interventions to reduce future spill incidents and mitigate the impacts of previous spills on human communities and ecosystem health.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Environment International
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environment International. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environment International, 111, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.11.009
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? oil pipelinessabotageoil spillspollution hotspotsrisk assessmenthealthenvironmental science(all) ??
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Deposited On:
20 Nov 2017 21:30
Last Modified:
26 Nov 2023 00:20