, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 297–305 | Cite as

The effects of gas flaring on crops in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

  • Elisha Jasper Dung
  • Leonard S. Bombom
  • Tano D. Agusomu


Flaring of associated gas from oil exploitation has several consequences on the environment. This study explores the spatial variability effects of gas flaring on the growth and development of cassava (Manihot esculenta), waterleaf (Talinum triangulare), and pepper (Piper spp.) crops commonly cultivated in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Data was collected on soil and atmospheric temperature and moisture at a 20-m interval, starting at 40 m from the flare point to a distance of 140 m. Lengths and widths of crop leaves, height of crop plants and cassava yields were measured at the specified distances. The amino acid, ascorbic acid, starch, and sugar constituents of the cassava yields were determined. The results suggest that a spatial gradient exists in the effects of gas flares on crop development. Retardation in crop development manifests in decreased dimensions of leaf lengths and widths of cassava and pepper crops closer to the gas flare point. Statistical analysis also confirms that cassava yields are higher at locations further away from the flare point. In addition, the amount of starch and ascorbic acid in cassava decreased when the plant is grown closer to the gas flare. High temperatures around the gas flare appear to be the most likely cause of this retardation. The waterleaf crop, on the other hand, appears to thrive better around the gas flare point.


Gas flaring Niger Delta Oil exploitation Spatial gradient 



We would like to thank the anonymous referees for many helpful and constructive comments and suggestions.


  1. Abdulkareem, A. S. (2005). Evaluation of ground level concentration of pollutant due to gas flaring by computer simulation: A case study of Niger—Delta area of Nigeria. Leonardo Electronic Journal of Practices and Technologies, 4(6), 29–42.Google Scholar
  2. Abdulkareem, A. S., & Kovo, A. S. (2006). Urban air pollution by process industry in Kaduna, Nigera. AU J T, 93(3), 172–174.Google Scholar
  3. Akpan, W. N. (2005). Between The ‘Sectional’ and the ‘National’: Oil, grassroots discontent and civic discourses in Nigeria. Unpublished Manuscript of a Thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Rhodes University.Google Scholar
  4. Alves, A. A. C. (2002). Cassava botany and physiology. In R. J. Hillocks, J. M. Thresh & A. C. Bellotti (Eds.), Cassava: Biology, production and utilization. Colombia: CAB International Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Balogun, R. A. (1971). Studies on the protein metabolism of Glossina palpalis: Quantitative differences in free amino acids between male and female adult tsetse flies. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 38B, 347–352.Google Scholar
  6. Chindah, A. C., Braide, A. S., & Sibeudu, O. C. (2004). Distribution of hydrocarbons and heavy metals in sediment and a crustacean (shrimps—Penaeus notialis) from the Bonny/New Calabar River Estuary, Niger Delta. AJEAM-RAGEE, 9, 1–17.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, J. M. (Ed.) (1964). Experimental biochemistry. San Francisco: Freeman, pp. 12.Google Scholar
  8. Denyer, K., Hylton, C. M., & Smith, A. M. (1994). The effect of high temperature on starch synthesis and the activity of starch synthase. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology, 21, 783–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fakayode, S. O. (2005). Impact assessment of industrial effluent on water quality of the receiving Alaro River in Ibadan, Nigeria. AJEAM-RAGEE, 10, 1–13.Google Scholar
  10. Geigenberger, P., Geiger, M., & Stitt, M. (1998). High-temperature perturbation of starch synthesis is attributable to inhibition of ADP-Glucose pyrophosphorylase by decreased levels of Glycerate-3-Phosphate in growing potato tubers. Plant Physiology, 117(4), 1307–1316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hart, A. D., Oboh, C. A., Barimalaa, I. S., & Sokari, T. G. (2005). Concentration of trace metals (Lead, Iron, Copper and Zinc) in crops harvested in some oil prospecting locations in River State, Nigeria. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 5(2), 1–21.Google Scholar
  12. Ikelegbe, O. O. (1993). Pollution in Nigeria: Cause, effect and control. Proceedings of the Nigerian Geographical Association Conference, Minna, Nigeria.Google Scholar
  13. Imevbore, A. M. A., & Adeyemi, S. A. (1981). Environmental monitoring in relation to prevention and control of oil pollution. The Petroleum Industry and the Nigerian Environment. Proceedings of an International Seminar Sponsored by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (pp. 135–142). Published by Thomopulos Environmental Pollution Consultants in Cooperation with NNPC Nov 9–12.Google Scholar
  14. Ishisone, M. (2004). Gas flaring in the Niger Delta: The potential benefits of its reduction on the local economy and environment. Accessed 27 June 2008.
  15. Isichei, A. O., & Sanford, W. W. (1976). The effects of waste gas flares on the surrounding vegetation in South-Eastern Nigeria. The Journal of Applied Ecology, 13(1), 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kent-Jones, D. W., & Amos, A. J. (1967). General analytical procedure for cereals. In: Modern cereal chemistry (pp. 554–660). London: Food Trade Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lafta, A. M., & Lorenzen, J. H. (1995). Effect of high temperature on plant growthand carbohydrate metabolism in potato. Plant Physiology, 109, 637–643.Google Scholar
  18. Lane, J. H., & Eynon, L. (1923). Determination of reducing sugars by means of Fehling’s solutions with methylene blue as internal indicator. Journal of Chemical Society, Indian Transactions, 17, 32–36.Google Scholar
  19. Leahey, D. M., Preston, K., & Strosher, M. (2001). Theoretical and observational assessments of flare efficiencies. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 51(12), 1610–1616.Google Scholar
  20. Okeagu, J. E., Okeagu, J. C., Adegoke, A. O., & Onuoha, C. N. (2006). Environmental and social impact of petroleum and natural gas exploitation in Nigeria. Journal of Third World Studies, Spring.Google Scholar
  21. Oluwatimilehin, J. O. (1981). The ecological impacts of the oil industry in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. Unpublished MSc Thesis. Ife, Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo University.Google Scholar
  22. Onwueme, I. C. (1978). The tropical tuber crops: Yam, cassava, sweet potato and cocoyam. Chichester, New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Oseji, J. O. (2007). Thermal gradient in the vicinity of Kwale/Okpai Gas Plant, Delta State, Nigeria: Preliminary observations. Environmentalist, 27, 311–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Osuji, L. C., & Onojake, C. M. (2004a). Trace heavy metals associated with crude oil: A case study of Ebocha-8 oil-spill-polluted site in Niger Delta, Nigeria. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 1, 1708–1715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Osuji, L. C., & Onojake, C. M. (2004b). The Ebocha-8 oil spillage II. Fate of associated heavy metals six months after. AJEAM-RAGEE, 9, 78–87.Google Scholar
  26. Oyekunle, L. O. (1999). Effects of gas flaring in the Niger-Delta area. Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria.Google Scholar
  27. Polgreen, L. (2005). Ebocha Journal; strangers in the dazzling night: A mix of oil and misery. The New York Times, December 9.Google Scholar
  28. Sonibare, J. A., & Akeredolu, F. A. (2004). A theoretical prediction of non-methane gaseous emissions from natural gas combustion. Energy Policy, 32, 1653–1665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. World Bank. (2004). Global gas flaring initiative: Report No. 4: A Voluntary standard for global gas flaring and venting reduction. May.Google Scholar
  30. World Bank. (2007). A twelve year record of national and global gas flaring volumes estimated using satellite data. Final Report. May 30.Google Scholar
  31. Yakubu, S. (2008). Nigeria: Gas flaring in the Niger Delta and its health hazards. Daily Trust Newspaper, March 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisha Jasper Dung
    • 1
  • Leonard S. Bombom
    • 1
  • Tano D. Agusomu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Port HarcourtNigeria

Personalised recommendations