Posted in Insights

The BLEVE that should wake us up

By Wale Ogunfodunrin and Rukayat Alli-Oluwafuyi

We all woke up to the news of the explosion that occurred in Abule Ado, an area in the Festac side of Lagos State, which led to the death of over 17 people and left many injured. According to the report from Al Jazeera, the explosion was triggered by a truck that ran into gas bottles stacked up in a gas processing plant near a pipeline. The impact of the explosion was felt as far as fifteen kilometers away. Houses in the immediate environment of the explosion were pulled down by the force of the blast, while houses farther away lost their windows and ceiling as shock waves ripped through them.

What we experienced alongside the pipeline explosion is technically called a Boiling Point Expanding Vapour Explosion or BLEVE (pronounced blee-vee). BLEVE is an explosion caused by the damage or rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid (e.g. methane and propane, our regular cooking gas) that has attained temperatures above its boiling point. Because the boiling point of a liquid rises with pressure, the contents of the pressurized vessel can remain liquid so long the vessel is intact. Once the vessel’s integrity is compromised, the loss of pressure and dropping boiling point can cause the liquid to rapidly convert to gas and expand rapidly. If the gas is then combustible, as is the case with the gas processing plant in Abule Ado, further damage can be caused by an ensuing fire.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

BLEVEs can emit shock-waves that pushe the surrounding atmosphere with exponential pressure fronts, travelling at supersonic speed. This phenomenon explains the sonic boom heard around Lagos due to the explosion. According to Dr. Davidson Olusesan, A geologist and hydraulics engineer, a BLEVE can cause a shock-wave pressure of about approx. 250 psi, when just a pressure of 5 psi can rupture the ear drum. The shock-wave pressure concentrated at the center of the explosion was responsible for the collapse of buildings closest to the gas processing plant, and most deaths. It is also responsible for the effect (caving in of ceilings, breaking of glasses, etc.) felt by houses and cars farther away.

For a BLEVE to occur there must be:

  • Liquid Cargo: Vapour alone cannot lead to a BLEVE. A liquid cargo must be present inside the tank to make it happen. Even water can lead to a BLEVE. However, there will be no fire as it is not flammable.
  • Pressurized container: The liquid cargo must be inside a tightly closed container or hold. A ventilated container may lead to a BLEVE only if the vent mechanism becomes faulty, leading to pressure development inside the tank or hold.
  • Above Boiling Temperature: The temperature of the enclosed liquid cargo must be above its boiling point at atmospheric pressure to contribute to Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. When a pressurized cargo hold or tank is heated, the vapour pressure will increase. An elevated boiling point accompanies the increased vapour pressure.
  • Structural Failure: The liquid needs a path to escape from the pressurized tank and convert into vapour, which can only happen when there is a structural failure of the tank or hold.

To prevent a re-occurrence of such events, we have to probe ourselves and ask the tough questions. Are we ready to develop at a rate that won’t put us in harm’s way? Do we truly take the safety of our lives and properties seriously?

By all standards, building residences around or close to a pipeline, gas station, tank farms or power-line is wrong, but do we really care? When all of these happen, blames are thrown in the air and arguments surround who should take responsibility for the events. With an introspection, everyone knows where they have gone wrong and must be willing to take responsibility moving forward. We should be more proactive than reactive.

There is a reason we have urban planners, surveyors, building engineers, environmental health officers. These are professionals that would advise you properly when making decisions around the development of landed properties. Why must we have building that pose a hazard to us? Why build a house at all costs just for the sake of whatever is the driving force?

Posted in Insights

Insecticides in foods? No problem. Activated Charcoal gets them out.

Hi guys. I am finally back from my long hiatus. Without wasting time, I would jump straight to what I want us to talk about today. I am sure you have heard rumours of our beans from northern Nigeria being sprayed with insecticides in a bid to prevent weevils from infesting the bags before they get to the southern markets. At first I thought it was the mallams who pushed in carts around Lagos that sprayed with insecticides until I saw this posted by a friend on WhatsApp:

Source: WhatsApp Status

I was at work so I could not scream. I posted it on my WhatsApp status and people began to ask for ways to save themselves from dying slowly because long term exposure to small doses of chemical insecticides have been found to induce adverse health effects including cancer, effects on reproduction, immune or nervous systems.

Before I go further, I would love to let you in a bit about myself and what I do for those of us who are new here. I am a trained environmental health practitioner and also a trained environmental manager. One of the responsibilities I have is to help people with simple everyday solutions to save themselves from the effects of environmental pollution which can come to them through the air they breathe (indoor and outdoor), the food they eat, the water they drink, skincare products etc.

I am not a carrier of doom and gloom, there will always be a solution and my job is to fish it out for you *winks*

Activated Charcoal to the rescue.

I remember my mum telling me about how she used to use charcoal to brush her teeth as a child and trust me, it sounded absurd until I read from different sources about its ability to adsorb harmful chemicals and prevent our bodies from absorbing them. This is thanks to the pores created on the surface area of the charcoal when it is subjected to anaerobic burning. It can be made from hardwood or even coconut shells. In this same way, it binds to toxic chemical in pesticides and insecticides in few minutes of soaking/washing them before consumption.

For my beans, after picking, I add a teaspoon of activated charcoal into the bowl of water to be used (about 4-8 cups) for soaking – I soak my beans for between 24-48 hours before cooking to help reduce the effects of the anti-nutrients in beans. I leave the beans in the charcoal for about 30 minutes before changing the water. For other fruits, I just leave for about 3-5 minutes like this lady here.

Get a jar of Activated charcoal in your pantry

The binding properties makes its versatile and it has been used in bath soaps, deodorant pastes, shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, and poison control. I have had a jar in my kitchen for a while now and I urge you to do same. Its might seem a bit pricey but looking at the value, its worth it and you would not exhaust it too soon. Based on the requests I got yesterday, I have ordered for a huge batch and its going to be dispensed in 100g, 200g, 500g and 1000g so I urge you to follow this blog by typing your email in and you will be notified when the batch arrives. It should be here in less than a week.

Did you learn a thing or two? Sharing is caring! Moreso the first 20 people to follow the blog get a 20% off the price.

*Delivery fees apply (the bikes run on fuel…)

Posted in Insights

Bad roads, traffic gridlocks and fear of rainfalls.

As I rushed to get the medication prescibed by my doc for my baby’s discomfort, rocking my clogs in the mud, I could not resist the urge to take a picture and make a short video of the present state of the road.

Residents do not pray for rainfall here because vehicles get damaged, fares go up, bikes are scarce and people get stranded.

Late 2017, houses on setbacks were demolished because of a road expansion project that got abandoned last year. There are no drainages, small downpour and eveyone gets messed up. The road is filled with micro potholes that give even bikes headache.

Owutu-Isawo Road 6.45pm Thursday 16th May, 2019

From a overall health perspective, people who live here are in the road as early as 3.30am and are still trying to get back home by 11pm. I have spent 4 hours travelling a distance less than 5 km in Ikorodu. They have families who need their real presence. Optimal physical, mental, emotional health are prerequisites to functional employees.

Regardless of whether it is a low-income area of the state, revenue is generated especially by the local government. I hope that his excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, the incoming governor would do something about this.
According to, the estimated population of Ikorodu by 2019 will be 990,960 if population growth rate remained the same as in the period between 2006-2015 (+8.84%/year). Low-income communities have the power to shape their economic future, but only if they have access to tools that educate and empower. They also need sincere and committed leadership but unfortunately our local government leadership is close to non-functional.

From an environmental perspective, bad roads lead to longer commute time = more gas consumed per kilometer = more exhaust fumes. Cars spending time in floods and muddy waters cause cause exhaust systems to rust. A faulty exhaust system contributes to air pollution. You do not even want to see the inner streets, stagnant water has become the order of the day. Environmental health is about preventing diseases that are causes by environmental factors. We do not have to wait till disease outbreaks happen and we start to run helter skelter allocating funds that most times are not fully deployed for what they are meant for.

Development, a suatainable one at that is a product of deliberate and intentional efforts, will, commitment and sincerity.

This was supposed to be an instagram post but I had to switch to my blog.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Every prime area was once underdeveloped and it took conscious effort to develop it.

Posted in Insights

Good to Great: Moving beyond compliance

The last piece I wrote on Due Diligence received great feedback. I was asked to talk about Moving beyond compliance as a standalone topic. Dear Mansu, this is for you! So, to the business of the day.

What does it mean to move beyond compliance?

Being compliant simply means you are aware about a set of rules and regulations guiding activities you are involved in and you try all your best to obey the rules so as to avoid penalties, fines or legal issues. In the business world today, unfortunately, this is the situation. Moving beyond compliance is taking extra steps to look at the rationale of compliance and seeking innovative ways to take advantage of compliance to save money and also make more money. I would love to use our hypothetical bakery Ethical bakeries – perhaps I might have a bakery one day.

Ethical Bakeries is located in Lagos and because the owner hates to pay fines or have legal issues with the government or anyone, the owner ensure that they comply with all applicable regulations – waste water quality, air emission quality, indoor air quality, solid waste disposal etc. One day, Ruky, a sustainability enthusiast walks into the bakery to grab some healthy bites and met the environmental, health and safety rep. She asked a few questions about how they maintain indoor air quality and the rep responded proudly that they complied with every regulation that covered their business. She was intrigued and asked why they did it. he responded by telling her that they had to be on the good side of the law. Impressed that we still had businesses that did not like to wait till problems arise, she went further to ask him “if the law did not require you to do all of these, would you still do it?” As he was about to respond, the owner of the business walked in on them and exchanged pleasantries. She asked the question again and there was a long silence.

If there no laws, would you still do it?

Imagine if there were no air pollution limits and you could pump out untreated water as you wish. What if you could treat workers as you deem fit, with no laws protecting them or you could churn out products with no regulatory testing for market fitness. Would you still take your time, money and energy to ensure that you business activities do not hurt people intentionally, managed environmental resources effectively, treated workers fairly? If you answered yes in your gut, accept my imaginary hug as I welcome you to the league of businesses that are on the path to become value and purpose driven. if ypou answered no in your gut, accept my imaginary hug too because you would have to schedule a meeting with me as we need to reevaluate why exactly you are in business then we can start from there.

Money-driven versus Purpose-driven

I would like to use the internet fraudster analogy. The driving force behind their dastardly acts is the quest for money. When money is the sole goal, you would do anything and damn the consequences as long as money was going to come in. This is why its easy for some shortsighted business owners to cut corners, evade tax, treat workers unfairly, and short pay suppliers. Meanwhile a business that has a purpose as its driving force would always go back and refer to the purpose of why they are in business even during down times. Purpose would help you move beyond compliance, integrate strategies that protect people, the environment in which you conduct business and continuously seek ways to be economically viable as you do all of these. If you are in the business of cooking meals, why are you cooking? Anyone can cook so what added value are you bringing? What would make people hand pick you out of a 100 people cooking meals?

Having no lawsuits can make you a good company but creating a culture around purpose would set you on a path to greatness. If Ray Anderson of Interface, Don Petersen of Ford, Phil Knight of Nike could do it, please take your time and innovate away.