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South Sudan to conduct audit on oil pollution

Author: Staff Writer | Published: Sunday, August 25, 2019

Oil spill at El Torr oil field in Ruweng State that is causing environmental damages on May 30, 2019 | Credit | Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

The Ministry of Petroleum is it will soon set up a team to inspect the extent to which oil pollution has destroyed lives and the environment in the oil fields.

Daniel Awow said that pollution as a result of oil spillage is of great concern to the inhabitant of around oil wells.

Both local and international campaign groups have reported widespread environmental pollution in oil-producing areas, with animals and people affected.

They say women are giving birth to deformed babies and stillbirths, claims the local people have confirmed.

Just last week, an MP representing Ruweng state at the Council of States has said the rate of newborns with defects is on the rise in her area.

This is mostly caused by dangerous heavy metals used in oil production which leaks into drinking water sources used by people with life-threatening health risks.

Speaking to the press on Friday, the Petroleum Minister Mr. Awow said the team will study the consequences of the pollution to help authorities identify the interventions required.

“This exercise will be carried out by an international company to give us leeway to correct some of the damage that has occurred,” he said.

The oil minister said the environmental audit will start within the next two weeks.

“This environmental audit will tell us exactly the extent of the damage on several oil fields so that we can recommend remediation and probably correction if there is any damage that will have to be controlled and also the practice of oil operation will have to be guided,” he added.

Oil pollution exposé by Eye Radio’s geo-Journalist, Joakino Francis to Toma-South and Unity oil fields (Block 4) in August and October 2018 found that crude oil has been left in ponds since 2013.

The residents were only compensated with oil containers that had been used during the oil production, for fetching water.

“These companies when they come, they promised that they will bring schools, instead they are giving you containers, chemical containers to the people in the area to fetch water or store their water,” Joakino reported.

Residents said that there has been an increase in the number of women who have had stillbirths and deformed children. Other effects that they voiced were skin rashes, eye disease, and sudden death.

According to German NGO, Sign of Hope, more than 180, 0000 South Sudanese people who live near oil fields use water that is contaminated by the oil companies.

It stated on the website that water contamination is dangerous for people’s health, livestock and the environment.

A report from the Nile Institute for environmental health has also revealed some boreholes are salty due to oil deposits from oil exploration.

The research implied that the contaminated water with chemicals has been exposed to people living in oil production areas to health risks.

Environmental campaign groups say this is due to lack of measures to properly dispose of waste in the oilfields.

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