An assessment of the environmental effects of sawmilling activities on residents of Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Sawmill industry is one the common industrial establishments located close to or within residential areas in forest belt of Nigeria. Expectedly, it has caused environmental and socio-economic impacts on residents. Along this line, this study assessed the environmental effects of sawmilling activities on residents living at varying distances from sawmills in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Data for the study were collected from selected 325 households and 30 sawmill workers in the study area using systematic sampling method. Information obtained from both residents and sawmill workers focused on their socio-economic characteristics, materials used in sawmilling activities, mode and period of operation, types of waste, and method and treatment of waste disposal. Furthermore, noise level measurement was carried out at every 100m interval within the 900m radius of the two sawmill sites from 8am to 5pm for a period of one week using Kamplex audiometer (model 27). Findings from workers revealed that the most prevalent environmental problems in the sites were noise pollution, smoke and odour, representing 14.4%, 13.4% and 12.9% respectively. Furthermore, the most prevalent human health problems were migraine, hearing loss and catarrh which accounted for 13.5%, 13.5% and 12.6% in the two sites respectively. The study established that there was a significant difference between distance of residences from sawmills and severity of smoke. Noise level measurement was found to vary significantly across the two sawmill sites (F=102.329 and F=98.323=0.000) in the study area. The study also established that there was a significant difference between sawmill distance to residence and severity illness and migraine. The study concluded that significant variation existed in the physical, environmental and human health problems across the different residential zones in the study area.