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Environmental impacts of iron ore mining on quality of surface water and its health implication on the inhabitants of itakpe

Abu Hassan Onimisi and Ifatimehin .O. Olanrewaju

Environmental impact of Iron ore mining on quality of surface water and Health of the inhabitants of I takpe, Nigeria was investigated. Since the commencement of iron ore mining in Itakpe in 1979, water related problems have been experienced by the inhabitants of the area. 90 households were chosen at random from Itakpe, Abobo and Eika-Adagu communities to answer questions on water-health related problems that they have experienced since the inception of iron ore mining in the region. The result shows different water-health related problems being experienced by the people; these include dry skin, gastro-intestinal irritation, turning of yam and cassava into black when cooked with water from the stream, metallic tasting of water, rusty stains on laundry, coloration of teeth (red-brown), red-brown stains on ceramic plates and pots. Laboratory analysis was carried out on water samples collected from Eika-adagu River, the only sources of surface water supply that drains the iron ore mining region. Two samples were collected each from the upstream before the mining region and downstream sections after the mining region. The analysis shows considerable / substantial contents of chemical pollutants, with iron (fe) constituting the highest percentage of the pollutants and Cendium (Ce) constituting the lowest percentage of the pollutants. The other chemical pollutants found are; Lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and Chromium (Cr). Based on the field survey, for consuming the water, the study shows that, about 44.4% of the people from the three communities have suffered gastro-intestinal irritation, 21.1% suffered catharsis, 53.3% suffered dehydration, 54.4% suffered dry skin condition, 100% confirmed the incident of stains on ceramics, rusty stains on laundry, and metallic tasting of the water from river Eika- Adagu, 42.2% suffered coloration of teeth, 100% also confirmed that when tubers like yam and cassava are cooked with the water, they turn lack.

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