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Soc Indic Res (2008) 85:211222 DOI 10.


Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality of life in some oil and gas industry impacted cities of Nigeria
E. O. Ejechi B. O. Ejechi

Received: 10 November 2006 / Accepted: 2 January 2007 / Published online: 9 February 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Abstract The availability and safety of drinking water and the environmental quality of life was investigated in ve cities located in an oil-producing area of Nigeria using questionnaire-based scales, discussion and laboratory tests. Polythenepackaged sachet water and commercial and non-commercial private boreholes largely met the drinking water requirement of the cities. Consumption of sachet water was high (14.020.0 points vs. 25.0 points) but regression analysis indicated strong negative relationships with income group (b = 0.75, P < 0.005) and educational level (b = 0.77, P < 0.005) of respondents (658). Private borehole water was prevalent (18.719.9 vs. 20.0) while public water supplies were almost non-existent (4.85.6 vs. 20.0) in the cities. Vulnerability to contamination in all water sources was indicated following unacceptable counts of total and faecal coliform bacteria in 1062.5 and 325% of samples, respectfully. Respondents were not satised with environmental quality of life indicated by the quality of housing, school, health services, refuse disposal, recreation, streetlight, transport and police (3.434.01 vs. 10). It is concluded that modernization and industrialization due to the oil and gas industries, tended to increase individualization to the negligence of common services as evidenced by the preponderance of private boreholes and sachet water. Keywords Sachet water Borehole Coliforms Cities Oil Environment Quality of life

E. O. Ejechi Department of Sociology, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria B. O. Ejechi College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Novena University, Ogume, Delta State, Nigeria B. O. Ejechi (&) Department of Microbiology, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria e-mail: ejechiben@yahoo.co.uk



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

1 Introduction It has been estimated that approximately half of the world live in cities (Montgomery, Stren, Cohen, & Reed, 2003). According to Bugliarello (2006) factors such as health, water and sanitary services among others, ensure the survival and prosperity of cities. One of the major challenges facing city or town planners everywhere and particularly in developing countries is how to ensure that safe drinking water reaches every part of the city. Safety of drinking water is of concern to consumers, water suppliers and public health authorities because of water-borne diseases. Huttly (1990) estimated the extent of water-borne diseases in the world. According to his report 1.4 billion cases of diarrhoea in children occur annually with 4.9 million children dying. In the same vein, Hunter (1997) reported that about a third of intestinal diseases in the world might be water-borne. In developing countries like Nigeria, many water-borne diseases are either not reported or detected due to self-medication or resort to tradomedicalism (traditional herbalists or native doctors). In addition, medical records are not properly maintained. Although water-borne disease is not limited to developing countries, inadequate water supply, a predisposal factor, is associated with developing countries. For example, the World Resources Institute, UNEP, UNDP, and World Bank (1998) reported that the percentage of urban residents in Africa connected to water supply range from 92% in Tunisia to 1% in Monrovia, Liberia. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS) (2002) further reported that African urban residents use only 5 l of water per person per day. The inadequate water supply characterizing many African urban centres or cities is traceable to two developments, population growth and industrialization. Africas population before the 1960s was rural with about 5% in the urban areas at the beginning of the 20th century (Black, 1994; UNEP, 1999). Today with an urban growth rate of 4.8% urbanization in Africa is one of the fastest in the world (UNCHS, 2002). According to UNDP (1997) and UNEP (1999), by 1997 24 African countries had cities with over 1 million people and with about half of them located in West and Central Africa. Indeed urbanization in developing countries has been well reported (Boadi, Kuitunen, Raheem, & Hanninem, 2005; Preston, 1979). Sociological literature provides two major theoretical explanations for the population growth of cities, Ecological and Political-Economic theories. The Ecological theory refers to rural poverty and adversity (rural push) and urban attractions (urban pull) as factors inuencing population growth in the cities (Hawley, 1981; London, 1987). The Political-Economic theory emphasizes economic dependency as a factor resulting from the penetration of multi-national corporations production techniques that caused labour shift from farm and hinterland in Africa to factory and cities (London, 1987; Portes, 1978). This is reective of industrialization. Rau and Roncek (1987) dened industrialization as a process that makes more efcient use of labour in the production of raw materials, goods and services. Industrialization is a process of modernization that has brought western-styled lifestyles in the cities without a corresponding western-styled management and development in the availability of adequate social services especially water supplies. Herein lies the dilemma of African cities. In Africa, the western multi-national industries are located mostly in the cities. For example in Nigeria Lagos alone is home to about 50% of the production factories while 32% of industrial activities are


Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality


located in Accra, Ghana (Boadi et al., 2005). Other small-scale industries are also mainly located in these cites as well further exerting pressure on the existing limited health and social services. The environmental quality of life is a major factor that city planners also face because of population growth due to urbanization. Bugliarello (2006) states that: The ability of a city to survive and prosper indenitely involves factors such as the economy of the city and the availability of jobs and services, the health and attraction of the urban environment, the availability of resources, such as water, materials and energy as well as space for growth. The factors mentioned above determine the environmental quality of life in a city. Specically, the domains of environmental quality of life have been listed as: satisfaction with housing, health services, safety, transportation, recreation, refuse disposal, etc. (Jeffres & Dobos, 1995; Mller, 2001). These services have been reported to be poor in many cities of developing countries (Cohen, 2006). 1.1 Urban areas in the Niger Delta Nigeria is the 9th largest oil producer in the world with about 1.82.3 million barrels of oil per day. Over 80% of this comes from the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, which is home to over 10 million inhabitants. The upstream and downstream oil and gas industries in Nigeria, which began over 40 years ago, are located in the towns of the Niger Delta oil-producing region. There are two main cities in the Niger Delta, Warri in the west and Port Harcourt in the eastern section. These cities grew from small towns and expanded to cities because of attractions due to the activities of the oil and gas industries and the wealth generated. Other forms of industries such as hotel and catering services, organized transport services, entertainment industries, automobile workshops, water borehole drilling companies and water vendering and packaging companies, followed the trail of the oil companies to accelerate the growth of the cities. Furthermore, the oil industry activities in the rural areas constituted a rural push of shermen and farmers whose shing ponds; creeks, rivers and soil became polluted by oil spillages and efuents from exploration, production and rening activities (Okonta & Douglass, 2001). Consequently in the last 1015 years the hitherto sleepy smaller towns in this region have steadily grown in size and human population. Indeed small cities are known to grow faster than large ones (Cohen, 2006). In the western Niger Delta, there are four notable small towns growing into cities-Sapele, Ughelli (<55 km from the city of Warri) and Agbor and Asaba (>150 km from Warri). Although Agbor and Asaba are administratively in the Niger Delta, unlike Sapele, Ughelli and Warri they are not located in the core oil-producing areas. Going by urbanization trends in Africa, growth in these four small cities as well as the large city of Warri is expected to outpace the existing public water supply scheme and other social and public utilities that affect the social environment otherwise termed environmental quality of life. Warri is home to many oil exploration and production companies (e.g. Shell Petroleum Developing Company, Chevron and Texaco) and numerous oil-servicing companies. The smaller cities of Sapele and Ughelli also accommodate some oil-servicing companies and are home to many onshore and offshore oil-workers. In spite of the growing population and the



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

expected inadequacies of public utilities, these cities continue to hustle and bubble with activities suggesting that alternative sources of drinking water and sustenance of the environmental quality of life abound. The implication is that the oil wealth is an underlying factor. It is against this background that: (1) the extent of consumption of polythenepackaged sachet water otherwise known as pure water that has become a feature of many towns and villages of the Niger Delta needs investigation; (2) the patronage of private commercial and non-commercial boreholes which abound in these Western Niger Delta cities need to be ascertained; (3) the safety of these water need to be determined; and (4) the inhabitants level of satisfaction with environmental quality of life in the ve oil and gas industry impacted cities deserves studying. The outcome of the study may provide useful information that will aid city planners especially those in rich regions.

2 Method 2.1 Data source The data for this study was obtained from respondents drawn from the large city of Warri with its numerous suburban areas and the smaller cities of Asaba, Agbor, Sapele and Ughelli located in the Western Niger Delta of Nigeria. A total of 850 questionnaires were randomly distributed at 150/city except the larger city of Warri that had 250 by 10 research assistants who also assisted illiterate respondents to complete the questionnaires. The returned and correctly completed questionnaires were 658 (Asaba, 132; Agbor, 124; Sapele, 126; Ughelli, 121; Warri, 155). For the purpose of analysis, 11 income groups and 6 levels of education were delineated as shown in Table 1. In addition, discussions were held with few randomly selected participants. 2.2 Measures A ve-item Likert type scale (15) was developed to elicit information on the level of consumption/popularity of sachet water. Respondents were requested to indicate whether they Strongly Disagree (scored 1) to Strongly Agree (5) to the following statements: I feel safe drinking pure water; I drink pure water at home; I drink pure water outside my home; I drink pure water anywhere when thirsty; I drink pure water always. The points were summed up and converted to percentages of the maximum available score (25) and high scores/percentage indicate high consumption/popularity. A similar scale was used to determine the availability of public water supply or private borehole based on the above statements: Public tap is within my reach; Public tap ows always in my house; Public tap supplies all my water needs; I feel safe drinking public tap water. Public tap was substituted with private borehole in the above statements in order to determine the availability of boreholes. Maximum score stood at 20. Satisfaction with the environmental quality of life was measured with the scale reported in the literature (Jeffres & Dobos, 1995; Westaway, 2006) except that eight items (housing, schools, health services, transport, refuse disposal, street light, recreational facilities and Police service) were used. The respondents rated these


Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality Table 1 Distribution of samples on the basis of income and education Respondent Monthly income <N10,000.00a N11,000.0020,000.00 N21,000.0030,000.00 N31,000.0040,000.00 N41,000.0050,000.00 N51,000.0060,000.00 N61,000.0070,000.00 N71,000.0080,000.00 N81,000.0090,000.00 N91,000.00100,000.00 >N100, 000.00 Educational level None Primary Secondary N.C.E. Bachelors degree Post-Graduate N


73 72 63 60 58 57 59 57 55 53 51 117 117 117 115 101 91

11.1 10.9 9.6 9.1 8.8 8.7 9.0 8.7 8.4 8.1 7.8 17.8 17.8 17.8 17.5 15.3 13.8

N.C.E.National certicate of education-intermediate between secondary certicate and bachelor degree


NNigerias currency (Naira)-exchange rate US$1.00 = N130.00150.00

services on a scale of 10: 1 (very dissatised) to 10 (very satised). The points were summed up and the mean scores calculated in order to determine the overall satisfaction score for each city. High mean scores on the scale of 10 indicate satisfaction with environmental quality of life. 2.3 Laboratory tests Sachet water (approximately 600 ml water/sachet) numbering 500 were purchased from street vendors (150), bukas (roadside eating shanties) (150), restaurants (100) and store/supermarkets (100) from the ve cities. Standard membrane ltration method using 100 ml sample from each sachet was adopted for the detection and enumeration of total and faecal coliforms. The lter was placed on MacConkey agar plate and incubated at 37C (total coliforms) or 44.5C (faecal coliforms) for 2448 h. Red-pinkish colonies indicate coliform bacteria and they were subsequently counted. Any sachet water having total coliform counts of 10/100 ml and above was taken as contaminated or positive while a single presence of faecal coliform is positive. Contamination of the polythene cover was determined by thoroughly draining off the water and vigorously shaking it in 100 ml sterile distilled water to dislodge the microorganisms. Thereafter, the 100-ml water was ltered and subsequently tested for total and faecal coliforms as before. In all cases typical randomly selected ve coliform colonies were Gram stained and biochemical tests (IMViC) were performed to conrm their identity as coliform bacteria. The above procedure was repeated for water samples from 100 boreholes (1525/city). Functional public water came mainly from one source in each of the cities and they were sampled 100 times (20/city) for analysis as before. The water samples were collected with sterile screw-capped bottles as they emerged from the ground (private borehole or public



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

water) before storage (source) and from the taps connected to storage tanks (private borehole) or from street taps in the case of public water supply. 2.4 Data analysis Tables were used to show the differences in the consumption/availability level of the sachet water, private borehole or public tap water and the presence of indicator bacteria. The differences were further analyzed by unpaired t test, Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Duncans Multiple Range (DMR) test using the SPSS 10 statistical package. The respondents level of satisfaction with environmental quality of life and its domains were similarly analyzed. Regression analyses were performed to evaluate the association between educational level and monthly income as independent variables and the consumption of sachet water and some environmental quality of life domains as dependent variables. 3 Results The results show that the consumption/popularity of sachet water in all the cities was fairly high going by the mean consumption scores that were generally above 5.5 (55%) on the scale of 10 (Table 2). ANOVA and DMR test indicated that whereas there was no signicant difference (P > 0.05) among four cities (Asaba, Agbor, Sapele and Ughelli), signicantly (P < 0.001) higher consumption/popularity of sachet water was encountered in Warri when compared to the four cities. Private boreholes were the major sources of water for the respondents as also indicated by the high scores in Table 2. Statistical analysis (ANOVA) did not show any signicant difference (P > 0.05) in respect of this among the cities. The public water taps were rarely available as shown by the low scores when compared to that of private boreholes (Table 2). The results presented in Table 3 revealed that less than 30% of the sachet water samples were positive for total or faecal coliform bacteria irrespective of the source. The faecal coliforms were generally lower with positive counts occurring in less than 10% of the sachet water (Table 3). All the polythene cover materials obtained from the street vendors and the roadside eating shanties (bukas) were contaminated with total coliforms while it was less than 60% for others (Table 3). The number of polythene bags positive for faecal coliforms declined markedly from those obtained
Table 2 Trends in the consumption or utilization of drinking water from three sources Cities Sachet water consumption Score SD %a Utilization/availability Public tap Score SD Asaba (n = 132) Agbor (n = 124) Sapele (n = 126) Ughelli (n = 121) Warri (n = 155)

Private borehole %

Score SD 18.7 18.6 18.8 18.9 19.1 2.1 2.0 2.2 2.1 2.3

%a 93.5 93.0 94.0 94.5 95.5

15.6 14.0 14.5 14.0 20.1

1.8 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.9

62.4 56.0 58.0 56.0 80.4

5.3 5.4 5.6 5.6 4.8

0.5 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.6

26.5 27.0 28.0 28.0 24.0


Based on maximum available points (see Sect. Method)

Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality Table 3 Presence of coliform (indicator) bacteria in the drinking water sources Source of samples N Number of samples contaminated (%) Total coliform Sachet water content Street vendors Buka Restaurant Stores Sachet polythene bag Street vendors Buka Restaurant Stores Public water supply Source Tap Private borehole water Source Tap


Faecal coliform

150 150 100 100 150 150 100 100 100 100 100 100

26.7 20.0 20.0 18.0 100 100 55 45 31 62 10 28

6.0 5.3 5.0 4.0 46.7 33.3 10.0 6.0 9 18 0 6

from street vendors to those purchased from stores (Table 3). Generally the samples (water content and packaging material) obtained from restaurants and stores were markedly less contaminated (Table 3). Water samples obtained directly from the source (before distribution) of public or private borehole were markedly less contaminated than those already in the pipeline/running taps (Table 3). Although the number of contaminated water samples varied, contamination was generally markedly greater in the public water supplies (Table 3). With regards to the overall environmental quality of life, the trend was one of non-satisfaction as indicated by the scores, which were generally below 4.2 (42%) on the ten-point scale (Table 4). The non-satisfaction trend notwithstanding, satisfaction scores for Warri were signicantly (ANOVA, DMR, P < 0.05) higher than those from the other four cities within which there were no signicant (P > 0.05) differences (Table 4). However when the environmental quality of life domains were
Table 4 The level of satisfaction with the environmental quality of life Environmental domain Mean satisfaction score SD Asaba (n = 132) Overalla Transport School House Health Recreation Street light Refuse Police

Agbor (n = 124)

Sapele (n = 126)

Ughelli (n = 121)

Warri (n = 155)

3.6 4.7 5.4 4.4 4.1 3.5 4.0 2.0 1.0

1.5 (36) 3.9 1.7 (39) 3.6 1.9 (36) 3.4 2.0 (34) 4.1 2.0 (41) 1.5 5.4 1.6 5.9 1.6 6.2 1.9 6.1 1.8 1.4 5.3 1.3 5.1 1.3 5.0 1.2 6.4 2.1 1.2 5.6 1.6 5.6 1.8 5.3 1.5 4.3 1.2 1.2 4.3 1.2 4.0 1.3 4.0 1.2 3.0 1.0 1.0 2.8 0.9 3.1 1.0 3.0 1.0 5.8 1.5 1.3 4.5 1.4 1.5 0.7 1.2 0.6 4.2 1.0 0.8 2.4 1.2 2.2 1.1 1.8 0.8 1.8 0.8 0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 0.0

Percentage in parenthesis



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

Table 5 The association of consumption of polythene-packaged pure water and some environmental quality of life domains with educational level attained and income status Dependent variable Regression coefcient (b) Educational level (n = 658) Sachet water Housing Health services School 0.77** 0.37 (0.21 0.64* Monthly income (n = 658) 0.75** 0.78** 0.36 0.61*

See Table 1 for the number of respondents in each educational and income level *P <0.01; **P <0.005

examined separately, marked variation in satisfactory levels was the trend (Table 4). The table shows that the level of satisfaction tended to be greater with transport followed by school and housing while it was least with the Police service, which was equally rated very poor in all the cities. Warri respondents scored streetlights, schools, recreation and transport signicantly (ANOVA, DMR, P < 0.05) more than those in the other cities. However, satisfaction scores for refuse disposal, health services and housing were signicantly (ANOVA, DMR, P < 0.05) lowest in Warri. Income and educational level were strong predictors of the consumption of sachet water but not satisfaction with the health services (Table 5). Satisfaction with the schools was more strongly positively related to educational level than income (Table 5). Unlike educational level income could predict satisfaction with housing whereas both had no relationship with satisfaction with health services (Table 5).

4 Discussion The popularity of sachet drinking water is an aftermath of the failure of the public water supply scheme. Many reports indicate that growing urban centres in the developing countries are bedeviled with inadequate water supply (e.g. Boadi et al., 2005; Cohen, 2006; Preston, 1979; UNCHS, 2002). Although the results of this study reveal the inadequacy of public water supplies, it does not suggest that access to potable water in these cities is limited. The results suggest that the gap left by the non-functional public water supply scheme was lled by the upsurge of private borehole water operators and the sachet drinking water. The eld observation that boreholes can be found in streets and corners of these oil-producing cities is supported by the ndings presented in Table 2 where availability scores for borehole water was very high. The private boreholes are the sources of the popular polythenepackaged drinking water. Indeed those living in slums and squatter camps have access to borehole water operators for drinking water supplies while relying on hand-dug wells for other domestic uses. In other cities of the developing countries inadequate water supply remains their bane (Boadi et al., 2005; Economic Commission for Africa, 1996; WHO and UNICEF, 2000) because private commercial boreholes are not common due to poverty. The proliferation of boreholes in the Niger Delta cities is a recent phenomenon that has its roots in industrialization accentuated by the oil wealth of the region. The success of industrial technology produced simpler and cheaper equipments for


Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality


drilling and tapping water from deep aquifers. The cost of sinking boreholes plummeted making it affordable by many. Besides potable water containing aquifers do not exceed 150 ft in the Niger Delta region. Groundwater from such aquifers is seen as a pristine potable resource because of the earths ltering capacity. Private borehole water operators rarely include any treatment scheme thereby reducing cost. Thus a combination of low water table, technological successes and increased revenue arising from oil production, made water available in spite of the failure of the Government public water supply scheme. The technological success of simpler and cheaper borehole drilling equipments transformed labour and occupation. Many inhabitants of these cities now rely on selling water, as a means of livelihood while packaging, distribution and sale of drinking water is now a big industry that provides employment. The industries that produce the water packaging materials and equipments also provide employment. So who wants Government water? Is the Government turning a blind eye to the social responsibility of providing water because of these employment opportunities? The disappearance of water tankers from the streets of these cities is a manifestation of labour shift occasioned by the increase in private water borehole operations and the emergence of sachet water as a source of potable water. From the sociological perspective, the driving force behind the proliferation of boreholes can be traced to modernization. Modernization increases individualization leading to the breakdown of socially cohesive societies (Giddens, 1991a, 1991b). From the functionalist perspective, modernization culminates in the collapse of collective interest, which in developing countries, manifest in failures of Government social responsibilities. The expansion of individual choice weakened the commitment to provision of social amenities as individuals struggle to own boreholes or purchase personal electricity generating sets. These purchases will certainly be easier in an oil-rich community. Thus there is no collective strong challenge to Governments failure to live up to its social responsibilities. There is concern for the safety of drinking water in the Niger Delta cities as well as in many other cities because of water-borne diseases. The occurrence of total and faecal coliform bacteria in counts exceeding WHO (1996) standards in signicant number of water samples suggests poor sanitary handling and warns of the potential presence of disease-causing organisms. The standards stipulate that faecal coliforms should not be detected in any 100 ml of water while total coliforms should not exceed 10/100 ml. The fact that 1825 and 36% of sachet water samples were positive for total and faecal coliforms respectively is of concern from the epidemiological viewpoint. This nding did not come as a surprise because raids carried out by agents of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control the body charged with ensuring standards in Nigeria often reveal the use of unsanitary containers to store the water to be packaged and sold. The observation that markedly greater contamination was associated with samples from street hawkers and roadside eating shanties (buka) buttresses the case for poor handling. Field observation revealed that the vendors often engage in intense struggle to get the attention of customers during which the sachets sometimes fall to the soil. The high numbers of the polythene covers showing positive presence of faecal and total coliforms further supports the eld observation. It seems to us that this is a major source of water-borne diseases because many consumers use their teeth to cut open the polythene cover and suck the water. The consumer may risk sucking in micro-



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

organisms especially from bags that may have fallen to the ground. With respect to private boreholes or public water supplies, contamination was mainly during pipeline distribution (taps) as the results show. Burst pipes, worn-out sealants and poor joint ttings all of which were encountered during the eldwork, might have rendered the water vulnerable to ingress of microorganisms. The contamination of water as it emerges from the source (ground) may also be attributed to ageing wornout pipes and joints and poor pipettings. The respondents from all the cities tended not to be satised with their overall environmental quality of life judging from the low scores. It is not a surprise that respondents in the large city of Warri tended to have higher satisfaction scores because it is a town full of opportunities. An examination of the scores for each environmental quality of life domains show that Warri respondents scored transportation, schools and recreation markedly more than those from other cities and this pushed up the overall score. These three domains and particularly recreation require signicant nancial commitment, which many residents of the oil city of Warri can afford. By virtue of the oil production activities and its pull effect, many private schools, transport companies and recreation/hotel activities sprang up and compete to satisfy the teeming population. It is also not a surprise that the lowest scores for housing, health services and refuse disposal were from Warri because of the high population density/congestion, which makes these services inadequate. From the above, it is obvious that Warri is the main city in the West Niger Delta that the impact of oil-related activities can be seen and felt. The inference is that the expected spillover effect on the nearby towns of Sapele and Ughelli is still minimal. Generally, the fact that many of the services especially the police were scored very low suggests that the problem of poor environmental services transcends the impact of the up and downstream oil and gas industry activities. It indicates that urbanization problems particularly in developing countries tend to follow the same pattern (Boadi et al., 2005; Bugliarello, 2006; Cohen, 2006; London, 1987). However the survival responses of the inhabitants of these cities may vary depending on local conditions and business ingenuity as demonstrate by the emergence of sachet water and proliferation of private boreholes. The foreign industries benet from the failure of these services by ooding the market with alternative devices. For instance the unreliability of power supply in Nigeria was the impetus for the importation of rechargeable lanterns, uninterrupted power systems for computers and big or small electricity generators from Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. The oil-related activities in Warri increased the purchasing power of many hence the city now suffers from noise and exhaust fume pollution due to the increased usage of generator. The cities are now littered with polythene-packaging materials that are not biodegradable because of the outpaced refuse disposal system. The strong negative relationship between the level of education of the respondents and the consumption of sachet water is attributable to enlightenment. The well-educated respondents tend to see the water as vulnerable to contamination. They raised questions on hygienic handling, processing, distribution and retailing outlets in the course of discussions. The presence of coliform bacteria in some samples provides support for these doubts. On the other hand the high-income groups see the consumption of the packaged water as demeaning since they can afford their own boreholes and even purchase the more expensive bottled water. The nding that the consumption of sachet water though signicant, tended to be average (5356% of total score) in cities other than Warri is a reection of the


Safe drinking water and satisfaction with environmental quality


position of the high-income groups and the educated class. However, this deduction tended to be blurred in Warri where consumption is more than average (>70% of score) because of the numerous social activities (e.g. celebrations, marriages and burials) where the sachet water is the main source of drinking water. Satisfaction with schools is positively related to income and education because of the many private good schools that are patronized by the rich and educated class. The public schools as expected are not as good as many of the private schools and the lower income groups for obvious reasons of cost mainly patronize them. The nding that education is not related to satisfaction with housing whereas it is for income, suggests that there are many with little or no education that are rich enough to afford decent houses. Many opportunities abound for hard working people to live above average in oil industry impacted communities. The educated class tends to seek white-collar jobs that may not even bring in as much money as the worker on an offshore oilrig. The absence of any relationship between educational level or income groups and satisfaction with health services suggests that everyone has access to similar health facilities. The rich, poor, educated and not educated patronize the Government hospitals because of more experienced doctors and better equipments. Even the private clinics often refer cases to Government hospitals for the same reasons.

5 Conclusion From the ruins of the public water supply system emerged the commonly patronized sachet drinking water popularly called pure water and the proliferation of commercial and non-commercial private borehole water supplies. This ensured that availability of water for drinking and other domestic activities is not a major source of concern for the inhabitants of these cities. However, considering the nding that some samples were contaminated by bacteria and the cases of waterborne diseases treated in the hospitals, the safety of these waters cannot be guaranteed under the present circumstances. Despite the oil wealth environmental quality of life was poorly rated in all the cities as it is with urban centres in less rich developing countries. It is thus hypothesized that modernization trends and industrialization increased individualization and privatization in these oil-rich cities with less attention to the collective environmental quality of life. This is contrary to the situation in the countries of the North where modernization and industrialization began. It is worrisome that an oil-rich developing country like Nigeria cannot sustain essential services thereby raising the issue of corruption and squandering of the oil riches (ECON Analysis, 2004). This scenario can partly explain the ugly spectre of crime and youth restiveness in the Niger Delta. The need for increased Government attention to these indicators of satisfactory environmental quality of life and the enforcement of sanitary regulations in respect of private water suppliers is therefore, emphasized.
Acknowledgements We would like to thank Maria Edeimu and Tola Tanimowo both of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Novena University, Ogume for assisting with some other duties that gave us time to complete this work.



E. O. Ejechi, B. O. Ejechi

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