Asian Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology & Environmental Sciences Paper

Vol 18, Issue 3, 2016; Page No.(715-723)

THE IMPACT OF MALODOUR EXPOSURE ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING OF A COMMUNITY IN TRINIDAD

TASHA RAGOOBAR, WAYNE GANPAT AND KERN ROCKE

Abstract

Large-scale farm production processes produce variable amounts of effluent either in the form of chemical, biological or physical waste which may have a detrimental effect on both the environment and residential communities. In particular with intensive livestock farming, it has been shown that animals produce a large quantity of biological waste. Currently, with greater emphasis being placed on environmental and human health and safety, concern has now shifted to focus on the quality of life of individuals living around areas of intensive farming. This study examined the impact of malodours on the psychological well-being of residents living near an intensive pig farming operation in Trinidad, West Indies. Direct measures of gases were done over a 3 month period and community members (test community) were surveyed using a questionnaire to determine their perception of the severity of the malodors and its impact on their mood using sixty five (65) questions based on the established Profile of Mood State (POMS) measure. Repeat measures were done in a matched (control) community some 5000m away from the piggery. Data were assessed using paired t-tests and multiple regression analysis. Results showed: a significant difference in levels of ammonia and hydrogen sulphide between the test and the control areas; participants residing in the test area reported significantly (p<0.05) higher symptom rating scores for tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, anger-hostility, confusion-bewilderment, fatigue-inertia and total mood disturbance compared to participants residing in the control area; a positive association between psychological well-being scores and malodour scores (β= 4.970; p=<0.001). The findings suggest immediate intervention by the Environment Management Agency of Trinidad to have the piggery take measures to improve the situation so that the lives of community members and the surrounding environment are significantly improved.

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