Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
AFTER a four-year absence from
Ogoniland and some soul-searching,
Anglo-Shell, the multinational oil corporation, which had always denied
responsibility for environmental pollution in Ogoniland and elsewhere in the
Niger Delta, has shelved its earlier
stance, accepting "to clean up all oil
spills" in its areas of operation.
In a bid to return to Ogoniland to
resume oil exploration, bring some
peace to the oil fields and assuage its
corporate conscience, the oil company
has embarked on an ambitious, comprehensive scheme of environmental
improvements and community related
projects, which is expected to gulp close
to one billion us dollars. The expensive
programme is aimed at addressing
the three-fold grievances of the
Ogonis and others, which centre on
frequent oil spills, ceaseless gas flaring
and general neglect.
"When we are able to return to
Ogoniland, our first priority is not to
restart production, but to clean up all oil
spills whether or not due to sabotage
that have happened since the company
withdrew its staff in 1993, and make safe
all our facilities," Shell said in a statement. Shell's plans include upgrading its two oil export terminals in Bonny and
Forcados at a cost of us $850 million.
This will ensure that no polluted water
is discharged into inland waters after
1998. The company, in line with latest
safety and environmental standards,
also plans to replace and bury all its surface oil pipelines currently on land and swamp many of which are worn-out
and are known to have been responsible
for much of the oil spills in Ogoniland
and other communities in the Niger
To reduce the incidence of gas flaring, a US $4 billion liquified natural gas project, with Shell as a major shareholder is being built to process Nigeria's associated gas (which comes as a by-product of crude oil) for export by 1999 and reduce gas flaring in the entire
Niger Delta basin by 45 per cent.
On its part, the Nigerian government has imposed a fine on oil companies to discourage gas flaring. Prodded by local environmentalists, it has also begun updating the country's environmental laws, while a national oil spill plan is on the drawing board to cope with future emergencies. Since 1993, three per cent of the oil revenue has been set aside for development projects in the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, the Ogonis and
other ethnic groups in the delta basin
prefer to adopt a wait-and-watch attitude on Shell's ambitious environment
improvement programme. "We have
been deceived for too long," says David
Akpoborora, a 60-year-old farmer. "I
won't say anything about Shell's plan
until there is enough concrete evidence
to convince me of their sincerity," he