The Environmental Impacts Of Transportation Environmental Sciences Essay

Over the years, the development of road networks across the world has undoubtedly contributed significantly to the changing of the landscape. Clearly those involved in all aspects of the design and construction of roads will be very aware of the, often emotive, issues that surround this highly visible intrusion into the natural environment. According to Alo (2008) Central to any functional urban settlement is the level and extent of its transportation network. Road, rail and water systems constitute the modes of transport that have been fully exploited by major urban cities around the globe to facilitate the complete integration of the various segments of their economy thus stimulating development. Since these systems are not isolated, interaction between them and the environment often lead to not too beneficial consequences. Although, cities play key roles in the development processes, they are, in general, productive places that make more than a proportionate contribution to national economic growth. However, the very process of urban growth often brings with it deterioration in surrounding environmental conditions. As a locus for population growth, commercial and industrial activity, cities concentrate energy and resource use and waste generation to the point that both man-made and natural systems are overloaded and the capacities to manage these systems are overwhelmed. This situation is exacerbated with rapid urban population growth. (James, 2009) Urban systems and services (e.g., water supply, sanitation, public transport and roads) are increasingly congested due to population, commercial and industrial growth coupled with poor urban management. Natural resources (water, air, forests, minerals, land) vital to the cities’ economic development and to future generations are lost or misused through inappropriate urban policies. The radius of impact of cities on resources lying far beyond their boundaries is steadily increasing. Furthermore, urban areas are inundated in their own wastes and choked on their own emissions as a result of inadequate pollution control and waste management policies and practices.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (2005), the degradation of transportation networks due to poor maintenance, natural disasters, deterioration over time, in addition to unforeseen attacks, leads to estimates of $94 billion in the United States of needed repairs for roads alone. Moreover, in a new era of climate change, it is expected, as documented in numerous studies (cf. National Assessment Team (2001), US Department of Transportation (2002), Smith and Levasseur (2002), Zimmerman (2003), Arkell and Darch (2006), Schulz (2007)), that the degradation of critical infrastructure, including transportation networks, can be expected to increase. At the same time, emissions generated through transportation are some of the biggest contributors to climate change and global warming.

In Nigeria, the most developed of systems is road transportation with the roads mainly prominent in the various state capitals and inter-state highways. Projects limited to road rehabilitation, maintenance, minor construction, as well as to traffic management and regulation unlike new road construction, generally involve lesser environmental concerns. The roads are often constructed with no provision whatsoever to address problems such as the runoff quality vehicle emissions and other probable consequences of the road users’ activities. (Alo, 2008) Thus it is not unusual to find highways of mainly “flushed shoulder” passing through residential hubs, industrial estates and farmlands and since roads and highway surfaces are impervious, they serve as temporary sinks for various types of pollutants which are washed off during rainfall as runoff them to the proximate environment. Pollution from non-point sources such as highway runoff has therefore continued to be a major source of concern for environmental regulatory bodies and other stakeholders the world over as they contribute to the pollutant load of the receiving environment, in most cases the water bodies and farmlands. This according to James (2009), results to a gradual degradation of the receiving water quality and an eventual impairment of the beneficial uses of such receiving environment. It is against these backdrops that this research work strives to investigate and explore the assessment of the environmental impact of the degradation of transportation network infrastructure in the form of roads. The research study therefore focuses on selected parks in Ilorin East local government.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Vehicles serve as a direct and an indirect source of pollutants on the highways through normal operation and wear and via the deposition of solid materials picked up from the inner roads onto the highway surfaces respectively. Consequently, increased traffic volume tends to lead to increase in the amount of pollutants around the highway environment. (Alo, 2008) Thus busy spots on the highway have been observed to be characterized by poor runoff qualities; pollutant enriched roadside soil and obnoxious atmosphere. The resulting environmental damages or costs threaten the continued productivity of cities and the health and quality of life of its citizens. Cities have become major “environmental hot spots” that urgently require special attention in regional and in all environmental planning and management at the metropolitan regional scale.

The Nigerian situation is further exacerbated by the reality of increasing large-scale importation of old/fairly used vehicles for use on the Nigerian highways. An Urban centre such as Ilorin has a wide network of roads which mostly bridges it numerous canals and the lagoon. Thus the need to identify, quantify and mitigate potential pollutants as a result of the transportation activities on these roads and highways is most necessary. This is why a research like this becomes fundamentally imperative for the sake of inhabitants of Ilorin metropolitan cities.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The overall purpose of this research work is to investigate the environmental impacts of transportation in Ilorin metropolitan city. The study therefore is undertaken with the following specific objectives;

To examine the extent to which transportation system of activities can impact on the atmospheric condition.

To identify factors resulting from urban transportation activities capable of environmental pollution and degradation in the area under study.

To come up with meaningful recommendation on how to improve environmental health through Transportation Projects that are environmentally-friendly

1.4 Research Questions

In a bid to achieve the above stated objectives this research work will be designed to provide answers to the following questions

To what extent can transportation systems or activities significantly impact on the atmospheric condition of the studied environment?

In environmental education, how educated are drivers, trader in the studied parks?

Do location of motor parks has anything to do with noise pollution in the society?

Are there facilities for good management of transportation in the studied park?

In what significant way can we improve on our environmental health through and reduce hazards that come from transportation activities?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

For the purpose of this proposed research work, the following research hypothesis (Null) are formulated for statistical testing

H0; 1 There is no significant relationship between transportation and environmental health in Ilorin East.

H0; 2 Transportation activities do not negatively affect the atmospheric conditions of the natural environment.

H0; 3 There is no significant ways through which environmental hazards can be prevented in Ilorin metropolitan city.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The benefit to be derived in determining the environmental impacts of transportation in our society are immeasurable. Its benefits in enhancing public health and reduction of environmental hazards will be monumental. An important justification for this proposed study is that it will help establish the link between transportation activities and the state of human environment in Ilorin, Kwara State. It will also show us the degree to which the former can affect the latter in Nigeria. Apart from these, a study like this will serve as a book of reference to students/scholars, commercial bus companies, transport workers, politicians and road managers, who might want to further study and understand environmental impact of transportation in Nigeria.

Furthermore, conclusion reached in this proposed research work will serve as a crystal guide to Government, political policy makers, ministers for road and transportation and motor park chair persons in Nigeria to identify which elements of policy area need urgent modification and which is not.

This proposed study is also justified on the ground that it will serve as a frontier of knowledge to upcoming researchers who are willing to carry out similar research work.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this research work will limit to examining the environmental impacts of transportation in Ilorin, Kwara State. The study therefore focuses on Ilorin East Local government are of Kwara State. The choice of Ilorin East Local Government is attributable to the convenience it promises in the conduct of the field work and fact that the local government is a metropolitan city which tend to have more operating motor parks than others in Ilorin. These include;

ABC motor park

XYZ motor park

123 park, and

KKK park

The study will focus on this area because it is an academic endeavour that is time bound.

1.8 Definition of Terms

In a bid to ensure clarity, simplicity as well as avoiding ambiguity in this research work, the following major terms used in this project work are briefly defined for easy understanding.

Transportation

Environment

Degradation

Pollution

Public health

Please try to define the above terms, please make your definition brief and concise, you can use dictionary meaning if you want but please make the definition relevant to two things: first, your field of study (i.e., public health), 2nd it has to be define in the manner in which they are used in this project. I hope you understand?