THE LOCATIONAL IMPACT OF PETROL STATIONS IN UVWIE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background to study
The technological initiative of man towards the development of automobile and the discovery of petroleum triggered the building of petrol service stations at strategic locations to meet the demand of vehicle owners (Abdul et al., 2009). In recent times, there has been a sustained increase in the number of petrol stations established in different parts of the country. The reasons for such unprecedented increase are not far fetched: First, the growing number of people in the country and the attendant increase in the purchase of vehicles. Secondly, the attractive price of petrol both at control price and black market prices which made more people to go into the petrol retailing business (Uchegbu, 2002).
In view of this development, many marketers take advantage of this need and build service stations haphazardly without giving consideration to the possible effect of the locations of the stations. It has now generally been recognized that economic development can be a major contributing factor to growing environmental problems particularly when such development is not sustainable. A greatly improved understanding of natural resource base and mostly environmental systems that support national economies is needed if patterns of development that are sustainable can be determined and recommended to government. Petroleum, (crude oil) naturally is composed of various organic chemicals found in large quantities below the surface of the earth and is used as fuel and as raw material in the chemical industry. Modern (industrial) society uses it primarily to achieve mobility. In addition, petroleum and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of medicine and fertilizers, plastics, building materials, paints, and cloths and to generate electricity. In fact modern industrialization depends on petroleum and its products; the physical structure and way of life of the urban centres are the result of an ample and inexpensive supply of petroleum. In short, the goals of developing countries are based on the assumption of petroleum availability. Petrol Stations, serve as outlets for retailing petroleum resources such as gas, fuel, kerosene etc., which are highly inflammable, therefore need to be located appropriately in relation to other activities so as to avoid its consequent impact on the immediate environment. The environmental impacts of the locations of petrol stations are therefore not negligible and may not be ascertained unless an Impact analysis is carried out.
1.2 Statement of Problem
More than half of fast growing world population is living in urban areas, and this is only expected to grow in more coming decades (USAID, 2001). Most of the urban centers in the world are exposed to some hazards, such as traffic congestion, pollution and many more problems resulting from un-coordinated development. Apart from these hazards, cities are also confronted with other problems like accidents, explosion and fire. Urban centers have a varying degree of vulnerability, depending on the level of development, copping capacity and the level to which effective development control strategies have been implemented. In most urban areas, the high demand placed on land resulted to illegal conversion, leading to haphazard development and the deliberate location of petrol stations in unsuitable areas and highly vulnerable to hazard (KASUPDA, 2009). In a highly urbanized environment, Filling station is a significant contributor to traffic problems like traffic congestion, pollution, fire and explosion. The extents of these problems depend on the criteria or variable such as location, size and set back from road etc. Areas close to filling stations witness a lot of noise, congestion, air pollution, foul odour and other traffic related problems, especially when there is fuel scarcity which results in long queuing or where the petrol stations does not conform with planning standard . Indiscriminate parking leads to reduction in width of carriageway meant for the efficient movement of automobiles and pedestrians. Thus it becomes a major problem in our cities and especially in the Central Business District, where multi-story buildings are common and the land use is devoted mostly to commercial purpose.
The resultant effect of such illegal parking and queuing therefore is traffic congestion, loss of productive hours and delay in journey. Most of these identified problems of filling stations still persist in Uvwie due to lack of adherence to planning regulations. This work, therefore addresses the problem confronting urban environment in its bids to ensure sustainable location of filling stations. This study explored GIS capability to analysis the spatial analysis on the location of petrol stations in Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta state and proffer ways of ensuring strict compliance to planning laws and regulations with regards to petrol stations location. To achieve a desired goal, this work identifies area of high concentration of petrol stations in Uvwie Local Government Area.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The study is aimed at assessing the spatial distribution and locational impact of petrol service stations on the environment with a view to identifying the physical development problems and to make improvement proposals. (A case study of Uvwie Local Government Area). The following specific objectives were pursued in order to achieve the above aim:
1. To determine the location of petrol service stations in the study area.
2. To determine the proximity of petrol stations to residential houses, public/semi public institutions.
3. To ascertain the effects of the locations of petrol service stations on the environment.
4. To recommend physical planning solutions to alleviate the problems identified.
1.4 Scope of study
The scope of the study is limited to Uvwie local government area which is the study area. The study involves digitizing the satellite imagery of the area, generating digital facility map, manipulating and analyzing the dataset as well as presenting the results in Tables and Map format. The study only took into consideration built up areas that are vulnerable to noise and vapour gas emission at selected buffer distances of 60m and 100m proximity analysis for public institution.
1.5 The Study Area
Uvwie is a local government area in Delta state, Nigeria, its geographical coordinates are latitude 5° 33′ 0″ North, and longitude 5° 47′ 0″ East as shown in Figure 1.1, its original name (with diacritics) is Effurun. Effurun is the headquarters of Uvwie LGA which was carved out of the then Okpe LGA along with Udu LGA on the 4th of December, 1996.