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In Nigeria, oil exploitation occurs in the Niger Delta region especially Akwa Ibom state which is one of the world’s largest wetlands and includes by far the largest mangrove forest in Africa with a biological diversity of global significance. The study aimed in creating a synergy between the environment, farming system and crude oil sector with the need of government to implement feasible policies that will protect the health of all for a sustainable ecosystem. This review was achieved by using the online archives and personal interactions. The high demand for and use of petroleum and its derivatives worldwide has made petroleum hydrocarbon contamination a global problem with serious health and environmental consequences. One of the environmental challenges posed by oil pollution is the alteration in the physical and chemical nature of the soil which subsequently affects the growth of plants which in turn hinders environmental sustainability. Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination may affect plants by retarding seed germination and reducing height, stem girth, photosynthetic rate or resulting in complete mortality. In this review, relevance of crude oil in Nigeria and its environmental implication to the ecosystem was examine.



  • Background of the study

The Akwa Ibom state and the entire Niger Delta region has suffered excruciating pains from environmental degradation occasioned by government and multinationals over years, despite its enormous contribution to the economic prosperity of the nation, over 80% of the national revenue comes from sale of oil produced in the region, yet paltry sum equivalent to 13% of oil revenue accrues to the oil bearing states (Oronto, 1998). This amount falls short of the developmental needs of the region. All the laws enacted by Federal Government to control environmental pollution caused by oil exploration are never enforced despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to several summits organized in respect to environmental sustainability (Adetunji, 2006). Environmental degradation is viewed in the context of the high rate of oil exploration and other human activities in the oil rich Niger Delta without regard for the health and welfare of the inhabitants, including colossal damage to the flora and fauna. Beside poverty and deprivation, environmental abuse and degradation are the greatest threat to the survival of the people in the oil bearing region (Sagay, 2005). Oil spillage, erosion and leakage from oil pipelines, gas flaring, flood erosion and salt water incursion have taken their ugly toll on the social and economic lives of the people of the region (Adedipe, 2002). Petroleum processes and products have been a vital energy source and economic development to humanity (L. V. Eder Et al 2017). However, since the discovery of crude oil exploration and production, it has attracted huge interest lately due to the lasting environmental impact of global warming, greenhouse gas emission, and critical air pollution observed in recent years. The natural functioning of the environment provides both goods and services such as food and other products on which man depends upon for the continuity of life. The ecosystem stores large amount of carbon in both plants and soils and this regulates water flow and water quality and also assist in the stabilization of local climates. These services are not meant for financial value, but man nonetheless depends on them for survival (Ohanmu, E., S. Bako and M. Adelanwa, 2017). Niger Delta environment is one of the world’s largest wetlands and includes by far the largest mangrove forest in Africa. It can be broken down into four ecological zones: coastal barrier islands, mangrove swamp forests, freshwater swamps and lowland rainforests. In addition to support abundant flora and fauna, it contains arable terrain that can sustain a wide variety of crops, lumber or agricultural trees and more species of freshwater fish than any ecosystem in West Africa. As of 2006, there are eleven (11) oil companies operating one hundred and fifty- nine (159) oil fields and one thousand four hundred and eighty-one (1,481) wells in the Niger Delta in Nigeria (The Guardian 2006). Figure 1 shows the Niger Delta Distribution of Onshore and Offshore Oilfields. Human activities and those of oil exploration and exploitation raise a number of issues such as depletion of biodiversity, coastal and riverbank erosion, flooding, oil spillage, gas flaring, noise pollution, sewage and wastewater pollution, land degradation and soil fertility loss and deforestation, which are all major environmental issues. The Oron metropolis in Akwa Ibom state has emerged as one of the most ecologically sensitive regions in Nigeria. Oil and gas from the region are the main source of revenue for the Nigerian state, accounting for about 97% of the state’s total export. Since the discovery of oil in the region, oil has dominated the country’s economy. The Akwa Ibom state is highly susceptible to adverse environmental changes, occasioned by climate changes because it is located in the coastal region.



The ecological devastation in the Niger Delta region occasioned by oil exploration and production has degraded most agricultural lands in the area and has turned the hitherto productive areas into wastelands. With increasing soil infertility due to the destruction of soil micro- organisms and dwindling agricultural productivity, farmers have been forced to abandon their lands, to seek nonexistent alternative means of livelihood. Aquatic life has also been destroyed with the pollution of traditional fishing grounds, exacerbating hunger and poverty (Gbadegesin, 2000; Amadi & Tamuno, 2001; Aaron, 2005;Duru, 2010). Essien (2005), opine that the Akwa Ibom has largely become a cynosure because of widespread social unrest generated by neglect, environmental degradation and mindless spoliation among others. Moller (2005) also agreed that social unrest and pervasive youth restiveness in the area is the result of soil degradation, environmental pollution, water contamination, inequality in resource allocation and deliberates under development spanning over three decades. The grim picture of injustice has been aggravated by the role of multinational companies whose primary aim is to exploit resources of host communities at the detriment of the people’s health and their environment. It is in view of this that the study becomes pertinent.


This study has one main objective which is sub-divided into general and specific objective, the general objective is to examine the effect of crude oil pollution on environmental sustainability in Akwa Ibom state Nigeria. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the effect of crude oil pollution on environmental degradation
  2. To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between crude oil production, oil spillage and soil pollution
  • To examine the relationship between crude oil pollution and sustainability of aquatic life
  1. To examine the role of oil spillage on agricultural development in Akwa Ibom state
  2. To proffer suggested solutions to the identified problem

The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

  1. Does crude oil pollution have any effect on environmental degradation?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between crude oil production, oil spillage and soil pollution?
  • Is there any relationship between crude oil pollution and sustainability of aquatic life?
  1. Does oil spillage hinders agricultural development in Akwa Ibom state?

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

H0: There is no significant relationship between crude oil production, oil spillage and soil pollution

H1: There is a significant relationship between crude oil production, oil spillage and soil pollution

H0: There is no relationship between crude oil pollution and sustainability of aquatic life

H2: There is a relationship between crude oil pollution and sustainability of aquatic life


It is believed that at the completion of this study, the findings will be of great importance to the state ministry of environment as the study stress the need to manage and control the negative effect of crude oil production in the study area. The study will also be of great importance to the multi-national corporations who indulge in crude oil production as the study stress the need for them to improve on their corporate social responsibilities to ameliorate the effect of oil pollution in the study area, the study will also be of importance to researcher who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the findings of the study will serve as a reference point to further studies. Finally, the study will be useful to student, teachers, lecturers, academias and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature on the subject matter and also contribute to knowledge.



The scope of the study covers the effect of crude oil pollution on environmental sustainability in Akwa Ibom state. But in the course of the study, there were some factors that limit the scope of the study;

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


Crude oil

Crude oil means a mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing through surface separating facilities


Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change

Oil pollution

Contamination of any ecosystem, but usually of freshwater or marine ecosystems, by oil or other petroleum products.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is defined as responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.