Gas flaring is a recognized polluting agent in the environment, affecting all forms of life. The gases and particulate matters (dust, mist and fog) follow the same diffusive pathway with carbon IV oxide into the plant leaf, where they react with enzymes, hormones, and other biochemical molecules, resulting in the deformation of organelles with adverse consequences. In this study, foliar photomicrography analysis of five medicinal plants (Carica papaya, Chromoleana odorata, Ricinus communis, Manihot esculenta and Euphorbia sp.) from the flare site and non-flare site was used to evaluate the impact of gas flaring in foliar micro-structure. Results showed the occurrence of structural deformities evidenced in distorted veinal arrangement, necrosis, chlorosis, stomata and guard cell destruction. The plants studied have ethno-medicinal and nutritional values in the study area. The study showed that foliar photomicrography could be used as component of vegetation studies in the environmental impact assessment, auditing, and evaluation of any anthropogenic activity.
Key words: Gas flaring, phyto-therapeutics, phyto-potency, pollution.
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