Science towards a clean and developed environment (2)


Text of an Inaugural Lecture delivered at Yaba College of Technology by Dr. Adeleke Atanda Abiodun, B.Sc.(Hons.)(Unilorin), M.Sc.(Unilorin), Ph. D. (UNAAB).

There are a number of definitions of “sustainable development.”4 the National Policy on Environment adopts the notion of “sustainable development” which “refers to the judicious and planned use of natural resources for equitable development to meet the needs of the present generation without jeopardizing that of future generations.” In the international perspectives, H. E. Judge Nagendra Singh, President, International Court of Justice, in his foreword to the report of the Experts Group on Environmental Law of the World Commission on Environment and development, expressed the concept of “sustainable development”, as follows:

“The right to development does, however, have certain limitations in as much as it cannot be asserted at the expense of the community or even at the expense of neighboring States whose prospects may be jeopardized. For example, a State cannot, in the name of development, proceed to applications of nuclear energy in such a way as to harm the environment and endanger human life, whether in the immediate neighborhood or in the surrounding region. In fact, environment and development go together and have to be examined simultaneously in this context. In the process of advocating sustainable development, one has to examine the rights and responsibilities of States, both bilaterally and in relation to the international community as a whole. The need for cooperation among nations has to be viewed in the light of new imperatives. The efforts of the World Commission need to be briefly mentioned here because it makes a major contribution to the concept of development in relation to sustainability. The Commission’s emphasis on: “Sustainable Development” is vital to the well-being of humanity not only today but in the context of future generations. This aspect deserves to be fully appreciated not only in the legal domain but in terms of the physical world and its prosperity on which depend the future of humanity”5.

The Experts Group on Environmental Law was established in 1985 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, to prepare a report on legal principles for environmental protection and sustainable development, and proposals for accelerating the development of relevant international law, for consideration by the World Commission on Environment and Development. Specifically, one of its terms of reference was:

“ … to give special attention to legal principles and rules which ought to be in place to support environmental protection and sustainable development within and among all states.”5

What is Science?
Science is the investigation of natural phenomena through observation, theoretical explanation, and experimentation, or the knowledge produced by such investigation.

Science makes use of the scientific method, which includes the careful observation of natural phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis, the conducting of one or more experiments to test the hypothesis, and the drawing of a conclusion that confirms or modifies the hypothesis.
Science is to enquire to know why and how certain thing occurs.

Science is the advancement of the understanding the way in which the observable world works.

Technology is a body of knowledge applicable for the production of goods and for rendering services.

Technology is the application of science to the practical aims of human life or to change and manipulate human environment
Every society has its own technologies.

Science and technology are interdependent.

Science provides a starting point for technological effort and technology takes its root from science 6.

Technology is the science and art of getting things done through the application of skills and knowledge.

Science and Technology (S&T) has become the major source of growth, development and competitiveness of nations.
Environmental Issues

Desert encroachment, flood disasters, oil spillage, water pollution, climate change, depletion of ozone layer and erosion threaten human existence. Other natural and man-made disasters claim millions of lives in Nigeria and other parts of the world. These can be addressed with the use of modern scientific and technological equipment such as:

Space technologies, GIS, GPRS to facilitate an effective Early Warning System (EWS).

The use of automated network such as ICT and other scientific and technology equipment to mitigate these avoidable natural and man-made disasters.

Application of end of pipe and green technologies to reduce industrially induced environmental pollution.

Adoption of appropriate strategies to manage both solid and e-wastes such as:

Recycling of our wastes (waste to wealth)

Recycling of scrap metals in our society

For example, Lagos state government established organic fertilizer plants that use wastes within the metropolis.

The fertilizer also serves as agricultural input for farmers to boost productivities.

Environmental Pollution
Madam Rector Ma, the present generation and incoming have to solve three grave problems, namely; population explosion, poverty, and pollution if they have to survive. Pollution being the most dangerous problem likes cancer in which death is sure but slow. Environmental pollution is assuming dangerous proportions all through the globe and Nigeria is not free from this poisonous disease. It is the gift of modern living, industrialization and urbanization. Unless timely action is taken we have a forbid and bleak future for the world.

The technology does greatly affect our lives today. Information and Globalization Revolution brought changes not only to human but also to our nature. These changes are inversely proportionate to the environment because as we demand for high technology we also brought unobserved effects to the nature. Our attention is focused majorly on economic problems. But we don’t mind that more attention should be given to our environment. We experienced now a simultaneous typhoons and landslides. These climate changes threatened us because for some of it will going to happen much worst effect that it will cause.

Madam Rector Ma, all the human causes of global environmental change happen through a subset of proximate causes, which directly alter aspects of the environment in ways that have global effects.

With as much attention as the environment has been getting lately, you’d think that we’d be further along in our fight to preserve the world’s species, resources and the beautiful diversity of nature. Unfortunately, things aren’t nearly that rosy. In fact, many of the environmental problems that have received the most public attention are even worse than we thought – from destruction in the rain forest to melting glaciers in the Arctic.

Noise Pollution in our Cities Causing Hearing Problems

Noise pollution (or environmental noise) is displeasing human-, animal- or machine-created sound that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. A common form of noise pollution is from transportation, principally motor vehicles. The word noise comes from the Latin word nausea meaning seasickness.

The source of most noise worldwide is transportation systems, motor vehicle noise, but also including aircraft noise and rail noise. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area.

Other sources are car alarms, emergency service sirens, office equipment, factory machinery, construction work, ground skeeping equipment, barking dogs, appliances, power tools, lighting hum, audio entertainment systems, loudspeakers and noisy people.
Causes of Noise Pollution

Noise Pollution is the name given to any displeasing noise that is created by a human, animal or machine. This sound disrupts the activity and balance of human or animal life.

There are a number of causes of Noise Pollution such as:
Sounds from Motor Vehicles.
Sounds from musical instruments.
poor urban planning
Noise from aircrafts and railways.
Car alarms etc.
Noise Pollution Effects

Noise health effects are both health and behavioural in nature. The unwanted sound is called noise. This unwanted sound can damage physiological and psychological health. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Furthermore, stress and hypertension are the leading causes to health problems, whereas tinnitus can lead to forgetfulness, severe depression and at times panic attacks.

Chronic exposure to noise may cause noise-induced hearing loss. Older males exposed to significant occupational noise demonstrate significantly reduced hearing sensitivity than their non-exposed peers, though differences in hearing sensitivity decrease with time and the two groups are indistinguishable by age 79. A comparison of Maaban tribesmen, who were insignificantly exposed to transportation or industrial noise, to a typical U.S. population showed that chronic exposure to moderately high levels of environmental noise contributes to hearing loss.

High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects and exposure to moderately high levels during a single eight hour period causes a statistical rise in blood pressure of five to ten points and an increase in stress and vasoconstriction leading to the increased blood pressure noted above as well as to increased incidence of coronary artery disease.

Noise pollution is also a cause of annoyance. A 2005 study by Spanish researchers found that in urban areas households are willing to pay approximately four Euros per decibel per year for noise reduction.
Environmental Effects

Noise can have a detrimental effect on animals by causing stress, increasing risk of mortality by changing the delicate balance in predator/prey detection and avoidance, and by interfering with their use of sounds in communication especially in relation to reproduction and in navigation. Acoustic overexposure can lead to temporary or permanent loss of hearing.

An impact of noise on animal life is the reduction of usable habitat that noisy areas may cause, which in the case of endangered species may be part of the path to extinction. One of the best known cases of damage caused by noise pollution is the death of certain species of beached whales, brought on by the loud sound of military sonar.

Noise also makes species communicate louder, which is called Lombard vocal response. Scientists and researchers have conducted experiments that show whales’ song length is longer when submarine-detectors are on. If creatures don’t “speak” loud enough, their voice will be masked by anthropogenic sounds. These unheard voices might be warnings, finding of prey, or preparations of net-bubbling. When one species begins speaking louder, it will mask other species’ voice, causing the whole ecosystem to eventually speak louder.

Madam Rector Ma, the advancement of science and technology has made life easier and pleasant due to the production of different types of machines, electronics and equipment for various uses, thereby making today’s living noisy. In defining the noise, it should be noted that its definition is highly subjective. But, in simple term noise can be defined as unwanted or extraneous and unloved discordant sounds of many frequencies (Auston, 1979)7. Noise a potential hazard to health and communication, dumped into the environment with regards to the adverse effect it may have on unwilling ears. No one on earth can escape the sounds of noise – an unwanted, disturbing sound that causes a nuisance in the eye of the beholder. Noise is disturbance to human environment that is escalating at such a high rate that it will become a major threat to the quality of human lives. In the past thirty years, noises in all areas, especially in urban areas have been increasing rapidly. Noise pollution affects both health and behavior. A senior scientist at the Central Institute for the Deaf, St. Louis Missouri, USA, noted that, about 75 per cent of hearing loss in the typical American is caused not by the aging process alone but by what they have done to their ears throughout their lifetime. An intense, brief exposure to loud sounds can be harmful to the sensitive structures in the inner ear. The ear contains thousands of tiny and delicate sensory cells that are indispensable to the functioning of the hearing sense. High intensity sounds have the proven capacity of destroying these cells8.

There are two types of hearing loss conductive and sensor neural. In conductive deafness sound – pressure waves never reach the cochlea, most often as a consequence of a ruptured eardrum or a defect in the ossicles of the middle ear7. The three bones form a system of levers and linked together hammer pushing anvil, anvil-pushing stirrup. Working together, the bones amplify the force of sound vibrations.

Taken together, the bones double often treble the force of the vibrations reaching the ear drum9. Mitigation of potentially harmful amplification occurs via muscles of the middle ear. These muscles act as safety device protecting the ear against excessive vibrations from very loud noises, very much like an automatic damper or volume control.

It was observed that noise making caused and will continue to cause irreparable damage to the health of lots of city dwellers in Nigeria, yet nothing substantial has been done about the social evil.10

Madam Rector Ma, due to the current prevalent environmental noise we conducted a research work to assess noise levels within Lagos Metropolis a commercial and Industrial centers. This is to ascertain noise levels of some noise prone areas within Lagos metropolis, with the aim of establishing baseline data for future noise management planning and monitoring. It is worrisome to note that presently in Nigeria, environmental noise is escalating at such a high rate that it will soon become a major threat to the quality of human lives.

In the measurement of noise, the choice of equipment with regards to a particular type of sound is essential, to obtain the required accuracy of measurement. However, since the noise level at any location will generally vary with time, equipment which will time-average the deserved levels and which will meet the international standard for environmental noise is required.

Noise measurements were conducted in 11 different locations based on predominant land use types fortnightly between the hours of 7.00 and 20.00 daily in replicates (28 times) annually for two years January to December 2004 and 2005 respectively. Noise was recorded at two levels: L10 and L90 representing the highest and the residual noise levels using sound level meter (TES – 1350A). The sound meter was calibrated fortnightly and timing on each sampling data was done using stop watch. The areas selected for the activities in this study include Ikeja Domestic Airport (IDA).Herbert Macaulay Road – Busy Traffic Area (HMR), Idumota Commercial Centre (ICA), Apapa Industrial Centre (AIC), Yaba College of Technology Staff Quarter (GRA), University of Lagos Botanical Garden (ULBG), Apapa Seaport (AS), Lagos State Central Mosque Alausa, Ikeja (LSCM), Ijora Railway Station (IRS), Surulere Baptist Church, Ojuelegba (SBC) ,Victoria Garden City, Victoria Island (VGC).

Similarly, the volumes of traffic were determined within the same period in all the locations fortnightly. Number of flights was determined within the same period at Ikeja domestic airport fortnightly.

The results showed that the highest noise level was recorded between the hours of 13.00 and 15.00 for AIC and ICC while for GRA it occurred at 17.00 and 18.00 hours daily. HMR, IDA, IRS, and AS recorded irregular occurrence of highest noise level, which on some occasions exceeded the WHO, and FME specified noise level. One-way analysis of variance of pooled data showed significant difference in the mean noise level at various locations given four homogenous groups while there was no significant difference between the mean noise level and time (p > 0.05). However, two – way analyses of variance indicated significant interaction of times and locations on noise.

We therefore recommended that there should be legislation to control noise pollution; this is with a view to control noise pollution in the absence of inadequate, scanty and patchy legislation.

Government should pass the “Noise Pollution Control Act” to meet special Nigeria conditions, and prescribe noise limits for vehicular traffic, aircrafts, industrial commercial and other activities. Ban honking of horns in certain areas, sirens and use of public loudspeakers at religious gathering. Public awareness is also necessary because a lot of people are still ignorant of the adverse effects of noise pollution, in this regard, television, radio, internet, and newspapers should be used to promote campaign on noise pollution, its effect and control for wide publicity. Finally, effort should be intensified towards ensuring the use of silencers in churches and mosques. In controlling noise the approach has been to reduce noise at: source, along the path of travel and at the receiving end.

Madam Rector Ma, the correlation and regression analyses of data on the volume of vehicular traffic and the noise level at selected locations within the Lagos Metropolis showed that at 0.05 level of significance, other factors apart from the vehicular traffic contributed to noise levels. The regression equation (Mathematical model) is given in equation (i) below.
V = – 0.126N2 + 62.734N – 1493.74
(i)The equation gives 22.4% contribution to the mean L10 noise level at HMR, ICC, IDA and AIC; 2.8 per cemt at AS, IRS. SBC, LSCM and ULBG while 2.4 per cent at GRA and VGC respectively where V and N represent the volume of vehicles and noise level.

The correlation and regression analyses of data on the number of flights and noise levels showed that at 0.05 level of significance, other factors that contributed to the noise levels at the Ikeja Domestic Airport, apart from the aircrafts flights.

The most efficient of the regression equation is given below (ii), showed that the number of flights (F) contributes about 27.3 per cent to the noise level (N) at the Ikeja Domestic Airport.

F = 0.049N2– 9.26N + 443….27.3 % ———— (ii)The result of the regression analyses of L10 and L90 of mean noise level of the pooled data give the overall regression equation for Lagos Metropolis as in equation (iii) below, where L10 and L90 represent the highest noise level and residual noise level respectively.
L10 = 1.168L90 + 7.204 ————- (iii)

Madam Rector Ma, I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the authorities of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and Yaba College of Technology, Yaba – Lagos, for providing some of the facilities used for the study.

The technical assistances of Messrs. Abimbola Adeyefa and Anthony Etim are also acknowledged.












• Abiodun is of the Department of Chemical Sciences, School of Science, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No Comments yet