PERCEPTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION BY RESIDENTS OF BONNY ISLAND RIVER STATE, NIGERIA.
The behavioral attitude of community residents depends on their perception of environmental pollution. Therefore, the need to research on the environmental pollution perception of local residents of Bonny Island community in River State becomes important. Due to the richness of crude oil in River state, Bonny Island abounds in oil and gas industrial activities, and environmental pollution is serious and typical in this area. Hence, the residents are anxious about their health. Using questionnaires, this paper surveys the perception of residents living in Bonny Island area. The study seeks to determine the difference in the perceived types of environmental pollution in Bonny Island; evaluate the difference in the perceived causes of environmental pollution in Bonny Island; determine the difference in perceived health effects caused by environmental pollution in Bonny Island and to evaluate the difference in the level of awareness of perceived environmental pollution. The study had a projected population size of 281,000, out of which a sample size of 600 was drawn using cochran’s formular for estimating proportions from large populations. The influential factors of environmental perception were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and ranked sum tests. The findings indicates that differences in the perceived types, causes, health effects of environmental pollution are statistically significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in Bonny Island. Again, the difference in the level of awareness of perceived environmental problems are statistically significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in Bonny Island. The results show that majority of the community residents residing in Bonny Island are not satisfied with their living environment. The result of the analysis also show that 51.2% of total respondents affirmed that water pollution was greatest among other types of pollution in the study area.77.2% of the respondents perceived that air pollution is mainly caused by the oil and gas industry, 64.8% and 22.2% of respondents agreed that land pollution is caused by industrial and solid waste disposal and 69.0% of respondents perceive water pollution to be caused by improper solid waste disposal. 35.2% of the respondents also perceive skin problem to be the major health impact of environmental pollution in the study area. The results of the study revealed that age, education, length of residence and occupation have close associations with local people’s environmental pollution perception. In conclusion, the survey discusses the effects of demographical and social factors on the perception of environmental pollution. The study therefore suggested among others that environmental protection initiative programmes such as seminars, trainings and workshops be organized where causes, effects and the way forward for environmental pollution should be made available to enlighten the residents more on environmental pollution and risks.
Keywords: Perception, Environmental pollution, Bonny Island, Nigeria.