Air Quality Impacts of Smallholder Oil Palm Processing in Nigeria


Air emissions during palm oil processing by smallholders are issues of public health concern demanding urgent intervention by environmentalist. In this study, six smallholder oil palm processing mills were studied inElele,Nigeria. Air emission parameters (NO2, NH3, CO, H2S, SO2, VOC), noise and meteorology (wind speed, temperature, relative humidity and pressure) were determined at three distances (10 ft,25 ftand50 ft) in both wind ward and lee ward directions from the mills covering boiling and digestion activities. The emissions from biomass were found to be significantly higher than that from fossil diesel, while noise was higher during digestion. The health implications of air emissions were discussed. The study concluded by directing attentions of regulatory agencies to monitor the activities of smallholder oil palm processing to ensure the environmental sustainability of their operations. In summary, evidence during boiling activity revealed that:

· H2S ranged from <0.01 - 2.400 ppm at10 ft, <0.01 - 2.067 ppm at25 ftand <0.01 - 0.833 ppm at50 ftfrom the mills in the wind ward direction, and <0.01 - 1.167 ppm at10 ft, <0.01 - 0.567 ppm at25 ftand <0.01 - 0.367 ppm at50ftdistance from the mills in lee ward direction and was significantly lower during digestion.

· SPM ranged from 1634 - 7853 μg/m3 at10 ft, 657 - 1110 μg/m3 at25 ftand 81 - 854 μg/m3 at50 ftfrom the mills in the wind ward direction, and 46 - 236 μg/m3 at10 ft, 44 - 120 μg/m3 at25 ftand 30 - 58 μg/m3 at50 ftfrom the mills in lee ward direction. SPM was significantly lower during digestion.

· VOC ranged from 67 - 13.933 ppm at10 ft, 1.033 - 13.133 ppm at25ftand 0.500 -

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E. Ohimain, S. Izah and S. Abah, "Air Quality Impacts of Smallholder Oil Palm Processing in Nigeria," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 8A, 2013, pp. 83-98. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.48A1011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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