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Advocacy group concerned by pollution in oilfields

Author : | Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The government and the oil producing companies should come up with measures to ensure proper disposal of wastes in oilfields, an environmental campaign group has said.

In some of the fields, the Nile Institute of Environmental Health says, the wastes are exposed to the local people which may be dangerous to their health.

In August last year, some residents of Eastern Nile, who live near the oil fields in Palouch, complained of environmental pollution as a result of oil production.

They reported outbreaks of unidentified diseases which they said were not there before oil production started in the area.

Responding to the complaint, the Director-General in the Ministry of Petroleum, Engineer Awou Daniel, told Eye Radio that the ministry had designed measures to address environmental pollution in the oil fields.

He said the ministry wanted to ensure that there will be no more damage caused to the environment as a result of oil production activities by 2018.

However, Nile Institute of Environmental Health Executive Director, Dr. Bior Kuer, says awareness also needs to be raised to the local people to ensure they do not consume the waste which is majorly in form of water.

“It is bad to the reproductive active population because if pregnant women are exposed to oil contamination, spontaneous abortion increases, children may be born with deformities,” Dr Bior argued.

“But it is important to protect them from being exposed with these contaminants by first making sure that they understand and they are aware that some of these things are not good for their health.”

He added that the oil companies and the government should institute measures to ensure that people are not exposed.

In March last year, a German-based human rights group – The Economic Times – also reported that oil production pollution is threatening health of thousands of people in South Sudan.

It said dangerous heavy metals used in oil production had leaked into drinking water sources used by 180,000 people with life-threatening health risks.

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