Intensive Swine Production: Impact on Air Quality and Its Association with Community Residents’ Respiratory Illnesses

Wayne Ganpat, Tasha Ragoobar, Kathiravan Gopalan


Inadequate waste disposal from an intensive piggery operation has resulted in community residents’ disquiet about the poor air quality. This study (I) assessed the air quality in the community and (II) quantified the extent of symptoms related to respiratory ailments among residents. Measurements, done in the experiment and control areas, included; aerial emission levels of hydrogen sulphide and ammonia and respiratory symptoms of a sample of 172 residents. Results showed that: the highest levels of gas were measured directly outside the farm and gradually decreased as measurements were taken further from the farm; hydrogen sulphide levels were slightly higher than that of the ammonia levels at all test times in experiment area; no gases were detected in the control area; the values for both ammonia and hydrogen sulphide in the experiment samples were significantly lower than that of the established NIOSH Time Weighted Averages; residents in the experiment area reported a higher severity of most symptoms. Recommendations included I) education for the community to enable them to understand the risks faced II) more frequent visits from government health officials and III) persuasion to have the owners of the piggery modify its farm practices and to engage industry best practices.


Pig Farming; Ammonia; Hydrogen Sulphide; Malodours; Respiratory Illness; Trinidad

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