Health risks from environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Josephine Adekola, Moira Fischbacher-Smith, Denis Fischbacher-Smith, Olalekan Adekola

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Abstract

Local communities within oil producing countries in Africa often face formidable environmental challenges that generate conflicts and concerns around exploitation, environmental impact, and health risks. A key feature of these concerns has been the paucity of effective risk communication mechanisms and the impact this has on the public understanding of risk. Risk communication has been identified as a significant factor in explaining why the health consequences of environmental degradation remain unabated in oil producing communities. This paper evaluates health risk communication in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The study is based on 69 interviews conducted in the Niger Delta region. The paper argues that the health of the local population is being impaired by risk incidences relating to oil and gas exploration activities, the effects of which are amplified by inadequate communication of health risks to the public. The study argues for and suggests ways in which health risk communication processes can be improved in the Niger Delta. A multi-dimensional framework for public health risk communication is developed as a means of advancing understanding, practice, and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-354
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Volume35
Issue number2
Early online date8 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • environmental degradation
  • health risk
  • Niger Delta
  • risk communication

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