Full Length Research Paper
This study was conducted in Paga to assess the spatial distribution and operations of petrol stations and the associated health and safety hazards. Coordinates of the stations and the distances between them and the nearest residences were elicited and analysed using a GPS and ArcGIS software. Distances between fuel stations’ boundaries and the middle of the N10 highway and the distances between filling stations’ underground tanks and the nearest houses/institutions were determined using the same technique. Qualitative data were derived using structured questionnaires and semi structured interviews to provide information on perceptions of residents on the potential dangers associated with the presence of filling stations to assess the extent to which the location and operations of the stations conformed with government policy and guidelines. The study revealed that the inventoried filling stations were all located along the highway and distributed across both sides. The ratio of the total number of filling stations to the stretch of the highway (km) was 4:1. The study also showed that the guidelines for siting filling stations were not adhered to by most of the stations in the area. This posed a serious threat to the health and safety of the locals; more so, as they were predominantly sited close to residences and places of public assembly. The study also revealed that albeit there was good level of public awareness and knowledge amongst the locals of issues relating to hazards associated with the presence of the filling stations in the area, no action was undertaken by the people to draw the attention of local authorities to the problem, and prompt them to remedy it. The study therefore recommended the need for the regulatory agencies to take immediate remedial actions in response to the haphazard siting of filling stations in the area, and the country as a whole.
Key words: Petrol stations, hazards, government policy and guidelines, perception, township.
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