Estimation of Environmental Chemical Pollution of Al-Baiji Oil Refinery in Iraq

Estimation of Environmental Chemical Pollution of Al-Baiji Oil Refinery in Iraq

All kinds of industries like oil plants, petrochemicals and chemical industries are causing tremendous chemical pollution of  environment  components  like  air,  water and  soil.  The  first  target  of  chemical pollution is the environment of the refinery itself. It was seen that the protection and control measures of chemical pollution locally followed for oil refinery environment and its community were very limited. This  worse  situation  might  lead  health  hazards  to  workers  in  oil  refinery  and  consequently  to  its vicinity. This study was conducted to assess the degree of chemical pollution and impact caused by Al-Baiji Oil Refinery of Iraq on its own environment. Six heavy metals concentrations were estimated in selected  samples  of  soil  and  water  collected  from  different  sites  in  oil  refinery  by  using  atomic absorption  spectrophotometery.  These  metals  were  cadmium,  copper,  nickel,  lead,  vanadium  and zinc. Estimation of pollutant gases utilized a portable digital device. Results showed that some of the heavy  metals tested  (Cu  and  Zn)  were  at  acceptable  levels  whereas  the  other  four  heavy  metals (cadimium,  nickel,  lead  and  vanadium)  revealed  higher  values  than  maximum  allowable  limits. Determination  of  hydrogen  sulphide  (H2S),  nitrogen  dioxide  (NO2),  carbon  monoxide  (CO)  and oxygen (O2) gases were also done. Acceptable concentrations of H2S (4.16)ppm and CO (29.5)ppm were recorded, while those of NO2 (0.108)ppm and O2 (20.6%)ppm were not acceptable. Inhalation of metal particles might be more dangerous than through gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or dermal routes. Concentration  of  gaseous  pollutants  was  almost  close  to  the  acceptable  concentrations,  with exception of nitrogen dioxide which was noted to be more than the acceptable limits. It was concluded that concentrations of heavy metals in soil and water of oil refinery were higher than the maximum allowable levels recommended by WHO. Gases of Al-Baiji oil refinery of Iraq especially NO2 were elevated too. These high levels of chemical pollutants suggest a lack of efficient control measures in the refinery. Consequently, this  situation might lead to pathophysiological changes of human body systems particularly the respiratory tract of refinery workers and the vicinity community.

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