Hazards Of The Nigerian Meat Industry: Abattoirs As Agents Of Environmental Degradation


The Oasis Reporters

September 17, 2018

Burning disused tyres to roast cow hide with is a big environmental pollutant.


By Mike Odeh James, Kaduna, North-West Nigeria .

The abattoir, a place where livestock (cows, goats, sheep) are slaughtered, the meat processed and sold to the public, easily becomes a menace to the environment in its present practices within Kaduna and to a large extent, Nigeria.
However, it is more than a meat market for, as soon as an abattoir is set up, people congregate to buy and before long, it doubles as marketplace for other traders of various food items, cooked and uncooked. On the average, over 1,000 persons, meat sellers, other traders and customers visit the abattoir on a daily basis.

Kaduna metropolis in north west Nigeria alone has more than 6 abattoirs, with many more spread across the local government areas of the state. The same is applicable to all the 774 local government areas of Nigeria, with about 3 to 6 abattoirs in each locality.


According to Mallam Usman, a worker at an abattoir facility in the Kakuri suburb of Kaduna metropolis, about 10 cows and over 200 goats are slaughtered and processed daily. In the same vein, skins of slaughtered animals are roasted to produce another delicacy called ‘kpomo’ with automobile tyres used as fuel. The burning of tyres emit thick smoke into the atmosphere, gradually destroying the ozone layer which leads to rising temperatures and attendant flash floods in Nigeria .
Similarly, the over 100 traders within the facility unknowingly face health risks.
The most affected are those workers who burn the tyres and roast their skins.
Burning of tyres affects pregnant women living around Kakuri. Children, fetuses, babies, asthmatics, individuals with low immune levels, etc remain vulnerable to the pollutants released from tyre incineration. Small particulates released by burning tyres worsen asthma and may contribute to heart diseases.

Bigger Danger

Mallam Usman uses about 10 tyres daily to roast skins daily. This translates to 3’650 used tyres being burnt within Kakuri environment alone. On a nationwide scale, 10 tyres burnt daily in all abattoirs in 774 local government areas a day, translates to 7,740. Making it about 2,755,440 tyres burnt annually by abattoir workers in Nigeria .
This is a huge environmental disaster that has not been consciously put into adequate consideration..
This makes abattoirs nationwide amongst the biggest pollutants of the environment.

Similarly, slow moving effluents like animal dung, intestinal waste, grasses etc stagnate in the drainage giving foul smell and causing infections for those milling around .
However, the effluents when discharged into the main drainage, causes soil and water pollution.

In conclusion, the solution to the environmental damage the industry causes, would be in the thorough review of the entire value chain of the meat industry aimed at modernizing the industrial process with electric processors and moving away from archaic methods that have survived from ancient times.

Written by Mike Odeh James, an environmental journalist.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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