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National Effluent Limitation Regulations At Nigerian Breweries Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2421 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Nigeria, a country with thirty six states situated in the western part of Africa, rich in mineral and natural resources, having a size of three hundred and fifty six thousand, six hundred and sixty nine square miles of land area, with ecological zones ranging from the dry savannas in the north, to the water abundant Niger Delta (about nine hundred and twenty three thousand, seven hundred and seventy three square kilometres) – She is more than half the United States of American state of California, Nigeria has placed her name on the globe for recognition in exportation of petroleum oil, groundnut, palm oil and cocoa. Gaining her independence in 1960, she has been ruled and governed under the military and civilian era, with the later still in rule, also known as the era of democracy. Nigeria, like many other former British colonies operates a common law. The main sources of law in Nigeria are customary law (which was the legal system operating in Nigeria prior to the advent of the British colonial rule), the Nigerian legislation, and common law.

The composition and nature of our environment has greatly been altered by activities such as industrialization, transportation, construction and other activities.

Nigeria is a developing country and so, has industries situated in urban and rural areas, most of these industries are manufacturing and producing industries, and as such, tend to give off waste products which acts as pollutants to the immediate and surrounding environment. This essay covers air pollution control laws in Nigeria caused by brewing activities.


Brewing is a complex process with several stages, that tend to produce pollutants in form of fumes and effluent that causes environmental air pollution. The raw material collection process, produces dust which when inhaled makes the victim to sneeze and cough, for this reason, handlers are given protective gears to cover their nose, failing to realise that this dust particles still float in the air and pollutes the environment. The steam produced when the milled grains are boiling (wort production), and the addition of yeast to the cooled wort for fermenting the wort into beer, (the aeration process), the bottling and packaging which deals with water that is in turn converted to waste water that gives a stench before treated. Waste water from the industry (effluent), which is later on recycled and used to wash equipments in the factory, gives out a stench that offends neighbouring surrounding. In the effluent tanks, the odour produced poses as a nuisance to the surrounding environment in the form of air pollution. The law relating to air pollution in Nigeria is contained in numerous instruments as obtained in The National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act 2007, an Agency of the Ministry of Environment Housing and Urban Development is charged with the responsibility of enforcing environmental Laws, regulations and standard in deterring people, industries and organization from polluting and degrading the environment.

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According to the Environmental Law Research Institute 2007, (ELRI) for Nigeria, the synopsis of laws and regulations aims at inducing responsible attitudes and behaviours towards the environment are embedded in NESREA Act 2007 which replaced the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) Act, notes in Section 7, that it provides authority to ensure compliance with environmental laws, local and international, on environmental sanitation and pollution prevention and control through monitory and regulatory measures.

According to the regulations under NESREA on National Effluent Limitation Regulations, Section 1 (1) requires industry facilities to have anti-pollution equipment for the treatment of effluent, but because policies are not given out to the general public, perhaps due to company’s work ethics or policy, one can not say if the treatment of effluent is properly met in the brewing industry, however, because of the air pollution caused by this activity, it is recommended that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comes into act to check if the industry has exceeded its limit in polluting the environment as stated in The National Environment Protection (Pollution Abatement in Industries and Facilities producing Waste) Regulations (1991), Section 1 Prohibits the release of hazardous substances into the air, land or water of Nigeria beyond approved limits set by the Agency.

Also, the need for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to measure the level of impact and damage done to the environment is not applied, it is for this reason that both small and big industries still generate a lot of pollution to the environment. The E.I.A Act, as it is informally called, deals with the considerations of environmental impact in respect of public and private projects.

Sections relevant to environmental emergency prevention under the EIA include:-

Section 2 (1) requires an assessment of public or private projects likely to have a significant (negative) impact on the environment.

However, this is not the case when compared with the activities of brewing, as it gives a negative impact on the immediate environment.

Mwalimu in his text states “The common law supplements statutory control and regulation of air pollution in Nigeria for example concerning tortuous liability under torts of nuisance and negligence.” This means that the law is there to control and regulate air pollution. A tort is an injury incurred by one or more individuals, and it may involve mere inattention by the air polluter who allowed the injury to occur.

The different stages are powered with generators which emit fumes into the air, the stages involved also releases fumes into the air, effluent water which is before treated acts as another means of air pollution.

The fumes produced from the industry, derived as a result of the production from brewing, running of diesel operated generators (commonly known as ‘diesel fumes’) are a mixture of gases, vapours, liquid aerosols and substances made up of particles. They contain the products of combustion including:

carbon (soot);



carbon monoxide;


nitrogen dioxide;

sulphur dioxide;

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

This gases acts as pollutants and are suspended in the atmosphere where they cause greenhouse effect and lead to global warming. Most of these gases damage vegetation, respiratory system, product of complete combustion of organic compounds; implicated in global climate change. In other words they damage and pollute the environment; it is safe to say that brewing activities contributes to one of the major sources of pollution.

Environment is a very broad concept and involves everything that affects an organism during its lifetime. According to Srinivasan “our environment comprises atmosphere, water, earth, and space”. In his book, Chauhan defined environment in different ways;

“1. It is in totality of all social, biological and physical or chemical individually as well as collectively that compose the nature and man-made surroundings.

It refers to the sum total of conditions which surrounds man at a given point in space and time.

It is the representative of physical components of the earth where in man is the important factor influencing his environment”

It would appear that what the author means by environment is the totality of the surrounding body (air, land and water) that can be seen and felt by living organism.

Pollution is when different activities done by man makes the environment (air, land and water) dirty, Saunders in his text defines Pollution as “The introduction by man of waste matter or surplus energy into the environment which directly or indirectly causes damage to man and his environment other than himself, his household, those in his employment or those with whom his has a direct trading relationship”. This means that for every action man has taken has caused pollution directly or indirectly. Olanrewaju and Chukwukere defined air pollution as “the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, biological materials that may cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere and further classified sources of air pollution into anthropogenic sources and natural sources”.

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Tiwary and Colls stated in their book that “air pollution has been with us since the first fire was lit, although different aspects have been important at different times. While many would consider air pollution an issue that the modern world has resolved to a greater extent, it still appears to have a considerable influence on the global environment”. It would appear that the authors mean to say that air pollution, has been in existence from the beginning of time where fire was discovered and possibly before then.

Vallero in his text defined air pollution in page three of his book as “Air Pollution is the presence of contaminants or pollutant substances in the air that interfere with human health or welfare, or produce other harmful environmental effects”.

Hill in his text said “Pollution occurs because no process is one hundred percent efficient” the author means that pollution is inevitable but can be managed. As stated above, there is no process or activity done by any living organism that does not result in one form of pollution or the other. A good example of air pollution includes failure to inspect the operation and maintenance of electrostatic precipitators or failure to design and size an adequate abatement technology.

Effect of Air Pollution on Health of Humans

Olarenwaju and Chukwukere, the effect of air pollution and disturbance of natural air causes different health problems such as difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions, pulmonary exacerbations, vascular dysfunction, increased thrombus formation, brain damage, cancer, and increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.

For this reason, legislations and regulations have been made for producing industries to abide in, and breach in this has its consequences.

This legislation in relation to environmental law constitutes interlocking body of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations, and common law that, very broadly, operate to regulate the interaction of humanity and the rest of the biophysical or natural environment, toward the purpose of reducing the impacts of human. The polluter can be held responsible for the damage to human health. These laws and regulations are in the constitution but are not enforced in the country, because pollution is still on the increase in this developing country. The use of generators to power the factory, or a house or machineries has led to not only air pollution but also noise pollution. According to Abdulkareem in his case study on Urban air pollution by computer simulator, “Urban Air pollution due to activities of process industries is one of the main problems faced by the industrial area of the world.”

This means that, as long as there is an industrial process going on, air pollution would still be present.

The action carried out by the brewery industry does not promote clean air, and therefore pollutes the air and this causes discomfort for the inhabitants of the surrounding environment, and the regulatory bodies are not efficient in carrying out their duties, unlike the United Kingdom, where Legislations are constantly reviewed and put into place to fish out industries and companies that are exceeding the pollution limit, environmental permits are in place, pollution prevention and control permits are also in place to check for stake holders that breach laws and to check for hw air pollution is regulated. As earlier said, there is no process that does not pollute the environment.

The Pollution Prevention and Control permits (PPC) of the United Kingdom states that “If a business operates in Northern Ireland or Scotland, the business would require a PPC permit from an environmental regulator before such business would be allowed to operate. The NEW Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) HYPERLINK “http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/2172/contents/made”Regulations 2010 SI 675 pHYPERLINK “http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/2172/contents/made”rovides a consolidated system for environmental permits and exemptions for industrial activities, mobile plant, waste operations, mining waste operations, water discharge activities, groundwater activities and radioactive substances activities. It also sets out the powers, functions and duties of the regulators”.HYPERLINK “http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/2172/contents/made”

Unlike the United Kingdom where the public has the right to know the legislation for air pollution control, the public is unaware of this legislation in Nigeria. Very little is put in place for the public, there is no clean air act, which gives powers to local councils to control domestic and industrial smoke to improve local air quality and meet EU air quality standards for sulphur dioxide and particulates. The English air legislation controls emissions of gases, dark smoke and other airborne pollutants that harm the quality of the atmosphere. It includes environmental permitting and authorising regimes and, via the climate change framework, establishes financial incentives to switch to less-polluting ways of working.

NEW Aerosol Dispensers Regulations 2009 SI 2824 aims to protect public health by prohibiting the supply or possession of aerosols not marked as conforming to safety standards.


This regulation has been in place to meet up to the cleanliness of the environment, but because of the corruption of the land, such laws are not enforced and therefore, it is ignored.

The industries still run and release aerosols and fumes into the atmosphere, damaging the immediate environment.


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