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Stop gas flaring and environmental pollution in the Niger Delta

This petition had 270 supporters

Oil production involves the burning of hydrocarbon gases. The flaring–off of natural or associated gas is done as a by-product of the drilling of crude oil from reservoirs in which oil and gas are mixed. In the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, since oil was discovered in 1956, 100% of the associated gas has been flared with some reduction by 2004 to 75%, resulting in pollution of the surrounding air. The people living in this affected area have for long been agitating about the deleterious effects oil exploration has upon their land, livelihood and health. Particular complaints are about health issues, notably breathing and skin problems. Many gas flares are located close to the villages and are often poorly fenced and shielded. This offers little protection to the villagers who sometimes have to risk working near the flares; many of these people work outdoors mainly in fishing, subsistence farming and petty trading. While many of these villagers may not be familiar with the concept of global warming, they complain that the air around them is hotter and more foul-smelling than nearby villages with no surrounding gas flares.

There is evidence in literature and from studies carried out in other countries that gas flaring as a result of oil production has deleterious effects on human health. Gas flares have a great potential to negatively affect the respiratory health and thus reduce the livelihood of villages around them, due to the poisonous particles released into the air. These poisons are known to cause breathing difficulties, chest pain, chronic bronchitis and aggravate asthma all leading to ill-health and subsequent loss of many man-hours of work. Asides respiratory health problems, humans and their live-stock are also known to suffer spontaneous abortions as a result of chronic hypoxia due to inhaled poisons in the air. The Nigerian Government in its’ 1996 ‘’Vision 2010’’ report set 2008 as the year to bring flaring to zero level and gas flaring has been declared illegal since 1984. Yet the flares continue to blaze and some have been blazing continuously now for over 50 years because there is a loop-hole for the rich oil exploring companies to pay a meager fine for continuing to flare gas . Recently we are witnessing increasing anxieties in communities about the effects of environmental contaminants on public health, and these concerns should be taken seriously and treated professionally. ‘’Doing nothing is not an option"..Not any more!

Thank you.

Dr E. E Usoroh

 All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing...Edmund Burke

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