Introduction: Under-five years old (U5) children that reside in oil spill communities are exposed to various pollutants, and therefore are prone to respiratory symptoms and diseases. This study aimed to develop a deeper understanding on the lived experiences of U5 children residing in these communities.
Methods: The study was done in August, 2022 , on eleven caregivers/parents of U5 children, aged 26-45 years old via purposive sampling. This study utilized a phenomenological research design through in-depth interviews and audio recordings.
Results: Findings revealed that numerous oil spills have occurred, and are still occurring. According to the respondents, these spills are caused majorly by poor maintenance of old, rusted pipelines of oil companies; and pipeline vandalism, leading to land, water and air pollution. Results also showed that these spills have led to several adverse respiratory health (RH) experiences in U5, including cough, catarrh, chest pain and other health emergencies that have resulted in frequent hospital visitations and admissions like difficulty/fast breathing, pneumonia, hemoptysis, exacerbation of previously existing conditions, asthma development, etc. The destruction of their source of livelihood, have contributed to worsening these symptoms.
Conclusion: U5 children living in crude oil polluted areas are burdened with a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms and diseases. Implementation of already existing regulatory laws on oil pollution, prompt clean-up of oil spills, provision of standard health facilities, and trained health personnels, were some of the measures recommended to curb the menace of crude oil spills and its RH effects.
Borehole water has been used as a vital source of water for many communities. The pollution of these boreholes by potentially toxic elements using unlined solid waste dumpsites has posed a significant risk to the populace living around the dumpsite. This study investigates the environmental impact of potentially toxic elements on borehole water within the vicinity of an unlined dumpsite in the Nnewi metropolis. The upstream and downstream samples (16 each) were collected in wet and dry seasons. The potentially toxic elements analysis wasperformed using the methods of the American Public Health Association (APHA) under the required conditions. The quality of the boreholes was assessed using the World Health Organisation (WHO) acceptable limits for drinking water. The risk assessment was estimated for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks using ingestion and dermal routes. The results show that the borehole water wascontaminated with potentially toxic elements through leachate infiltration, which exceeded the WHO permissible limits for drinking water at both locations and seasons. The upstream borehole samples were more contaminated than the downstream samples for both seasons, due to their proximity to the pollution source. The hazard indices of the ingestion and dermal routes showed that the borehole water poses serious cancer and non-cancer health risks for both locations. The results revealed that children are more susceptible to cancer and non-carcinogenic health threats than adults for both locations and seasons. The pollution indices of borehole water for wet season (9.028 and 5.728) and dry season (7.107 and 5.328) for upstream and downstream samples respectively, were polluted and the pollution was higher in the wet season. The borehole water samples were unsuitable for drinking water and should be treated before use.