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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