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  1. #1
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    Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf Spill

    Excellent article from the Grauniad. All this agonising over the Deepwater horizon blowout in the gulf of Mexico. There is more oil spilt in the Niger delta every year- and the average life expectancy there is barely over 40 years. The Niger delta supplies 40% of all crude the USA imports- but how many Americans, or Euro's have even heard of this environmental catastrophe?


    One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

    Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. "We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots," said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. "This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months."

    That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.

    In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

    That disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 rig workers, has made headlines round the world. By contrast, little information has emerged about the damage inflicted on the Niger delta. Yet the destruction there provides us with a far more accurate picture of the price we have to pay for drilling oil today.

    On 1 May this year a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in the state of Akwa Ibom spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. Local people demonstrated against the company but say they were attacked by security guards. Community leaders are now demanding $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of livelihood they suffered. Few expect they will succeed. In the meantime, thick balls of tar are being washed up along the coast.

    Within days of the Ibeno spill, thousands of barrels of oil were spilled when the nearby Shell Trans Niger pipeline was attacked by rebels. A few days after that, a large oil slick was found floating on Lake Adibawa in Bayelsa state and another in Ogoniland. "We are faced with incessant oil spills from rusty pipes, some of which are 40 years old," said Bonny Otavie, a Bayelsa MP.

    This point was backed by Williams Mkpa, a community leader in Ibeno: "Oil companies do not value our life; they want us to all die. In the past two years, we have experienced 10 oil spills and fishermen can no longer sustain their families. It is not tolerable."

    With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution.

    "If this Gulf accident had happened in Nigeria, neither the government nor the company would have paid much attention," said the writer Ben Ikari, a member of the Ogoni people. "This kind of spill happens all the time in the delta."

    Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it | Environment | The Observer


    We really only care when it's close to Home.

  2. #2
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post

    "If this Gulf accident had happened in Nigeria, neither the government nor the company would have paid much attention," said the writer Ben Ikari, a member of the Ogoni people. "This kind of spill happens all the time in the delta."
    Scandelous and depressing. Someone should find the home addresses of the chief executives of these oil companies and dump a few truck loads of crud on their front lawns to see how they like it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai
    dump a few truck loads of crud on their front lawns
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    ExxonMobil
    Rex W. Tillerson, CEO must have a home in Austin, Texas the HQ of ExxonMobile.

    Not that big a city. Should be easy enough to find it but go easy on him. Income is only $17,000,000 a year.

  4. #4
    I don't know barbaro's Avatar
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    What a find, Sab. I hope more info comes out on the this. Good on the Observer

    I wonder how much we don't know what goes on. A lot goes on, we don't even know.

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    Article written May 30th-

    Last week environmental activists from across the world including Nigeria, Ecuador and Burma were prevented by Chevron from entering the shareholders meeting despite having legal shareholding proxies.

    the Exxon Valdez in 1989 spilled an estimated 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil. Compare this with oil spills in the Delta…

    Up to 1.5 million tons of oil, 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster, has been split in the ecologically precious Niger Delta over the past 50 years, it was revealed yesterday.

    A panel of independent experts who travelled to the increasingly tense and lawless region said damage to the fragile mangrove forests over the past 50 years was tantamount to a catastrophic oil spill occurring every 12 months in what is one of the world’s most important ecosystems.

    As well as threatening rare species including primates, fish, turtles and birds, the pollution is destroying the livelihoods of many of the 20 million people living there, damaging crops and fuelling the upsurge in violence, it was claimed.

    Last year alone Shell admitted to spilling 14,000 tones of oil. However the oil companies in Nigeria have consistently blamed oil spills on poor farmers and fisher men and women and more recently on militants. Whilst this may be the true in a small number of cases a great deal of spills are due first to pipes which are old and rusted and irregularly maintained; and secondly the fact that the many pipelines run overground in front of built up areas even in front of peoples homes and are therefore more vulnerable to accidental damage. Their denial of responsibility also ignores why the pipelines are located in highly built up areas and near to fishing ponds / creeks and farmlands.


    Niger Delta: Oil spills in perspective

    If there is a silver lining to the current environmental tragedy in the heavily populated (and prominently American) Gulf of Mexico, it is that environmental campaigners can now get their message out to a previously complacent government and public, that has long ignored these matters. Except for the infrequent oil spills that happen on Western doorsteps of course, such as Torrey Canyon and Exxon Valdez. Oh, then theres an outcry.

    There is more than a little irony in the fact that the Gulf of Mexico is also home to the worlds largest concentration of the Oil industry, being Houston and surrounds. Unlike several other catastrophe's, this one can not be ignored or swept under the carpet.

    I haven't heard it come out in mainstream Media yet- but it surely will. Perhaps we should have listened more to the Greens?

  6. #6
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    Ecuador Amazon

    During its operation in Ecuador Amazon until 1992, Texaco spilled 17 million gallons [around 64 mln litres] of oil from its pipeline and dumped 18 billion (!) gallons [around 68 bln litres] of toxic waste directly into the rainforest, and thus contaminating 1,700 square miles [around 442,000 ha] of pristine Ecuador rainforest with extremely dangerous chemicals. (7)

    Here is what Trudie says:

    If the drilling had been done in America, the toxic waste produced would have been re-injected into the ground well below the water table to ensure no environmental damage.

    But in Ecuador, Texaco dumped waste water, which contains benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, straight from the pumps into open-air pits gouged out of the jungle floor with no protective lining.

    When the pit filled up with the toxic waste, the overflow was piped into the nearest river.

    Some of these pits have been covered with earth but many I saw were open, with vertical flares burning off the gas.

    The fumes almost knocked me over and within 30 minutes I had a severe headache, a burning throat and felt nauseous.

    The soil in this area is so full of toxic oil residues that nothing will grow, rivers are so polluted that the fish have died and all natural sources of drinking water have been poisoned. Cancer rates in the area appear to be rising dramatically. (8)

    The area has also seen “children born with fused fingers and deformed eyes; teenagers with tumors; amputated limbs; slow deaths from stomach cancers” (9).

    Texaco left behind 600 open toxic waste pits which still continue to leak and pollute rivers and streams used by people living in the area. (10)

    A team of scientists found out that the levels of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that were dumped by Texaco in Ecuador exceeded the equivalent US standards by a 1,000 (!) times. (11)

    The people of Ecuador rainforest are still suffering and the company (now Chevron) has still not been held responsible for their actions.

    The case continues in Ecuadorian courts.

    Full Article- Ecuador Rainforest And Its Devastation by Oil Production

  7. #7
    I am in Jail

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    Yes, thanks for the news, SB, altho so depressing. I do remember remember reading about those toxic pits.

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