Gas flaring is a major contributor to the emission of toxic gases and other gaseous pollutants into the atmosphere. This study investigates the impact of gas flare on leaves of cassava around Utorogu gas plant, Delta State. Three sampling locations were chosen at 1 km , 2km and 3km distance from the gas flare stack and a control location at Orerokpe. Ambient air quality was determined for methane (CH4) (ppm), oxide of sulphur (SOx) (ppm) oxide of nitrogen ( NOx) (ppm), carbon monoxide (CO) (ppm), and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) (ppm). Leaves collected were taken to the laboratory for analysis. Relative Leaf Water Content (RLWC)(%), Total Chlorophyll Content (TCC)(mg/m3), Leaf Extract pH( LEP)(mol/litre) and Ascobic Acid Content (AAC) (mg) were determined under standard laboratory methods. Ensuing data were subjected to standard statistical analysis . Results showed that CH4 varied from 38.00-92.00ppm, H2S from 0.05-1.20ppm, CO from 11.00-26.40ppm, SO2 from 252.00-340.00ppm and NO2 from 82.00-190.00ppm. RLWC varied from 30.50-56.33, TCC varied from 1.98-4.66, LEP varied from 4.50-7.00mol/litre and AAC varied from 0.03-0.15. It was revealed that NOx, SOx and CO exceeded NESREA’s short-term tolerance limits for ambient air pollutants of (40-60) ppm, 100 ppm, and 10ppm respectively. This shows that air pollutants exerted significant inhibitory influence on biochemical activities of the leaf studied. Environmental regulatory agencies and oil exploration companies should help reduce gas flaring to avoid damages to crop production.
Keywords: Air pollutants, Crop growth, biochemical variables, cassava leaves