Environmental degradation is a global problem that affects both developed and developing countries.
Writing from Rivers State, a state in the oil producing areas of Nigeria. The country, Nigeria derives its
Gross National Product mainly from crude oil and its related product.
Before the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri (former Rivers State and present Bayelsa State), Agriculture was the main primary occupation of the now oil rich area. Palm oil and stable foods like cassava, corn yam etc was the major export product of the country.
Rivers-State being a riverine area was a hob –nob for artisanal fishermen aside from crop product
Approximately 270 species of fishes and other marine life was known to be harvested from the area.
The major agrarian occupation of the riverine people of Rivers state was jettison after the discovery of oil in January, 1956.Crude oil discovery coming with its advantages, nevertheless exposes the area to huge environmental degradation.
Rivers State, after the discovery of oil is crisscross by thousands of pipeline flow station and other oil
installations that cut across farm lands and rivers. Negligence, long usage, sabotage and theft causes
Spillage of crude product to nearby farmland and eco system.
Agitation from peasant farmers who felt marginalized that wealth from their area is funding the entire
economy of the country while degrading their land and water which is the major source of their livelihood causes the recent incident of illegal refinery.
I was attracted to this incidence when I noticed every morning, that my car is covered with black soot,
Naturally, I move around my house bare footed (a habit am not happy about), and while taking my bath, I noticed my bathtub is completed messed with black substances, in furtherance to that each time I put my finger
In my nostril, I realized the finger is covered with black substances, my curtain and my bed linen is not spared in this black mess. On enquires most people belief that the black soot is a result of incomplete combustion during illegal refining of crude product.
My organization Grassroots Women and Girls Empowerment and Gender Equity Initiatives has held
Several meetings and sensitization programmes to call the attention of the government to this challenging issue. The black soot and related black particles predisposes people to cancer and allied health problem.
The write up is a clarion call for the international community to step in so as to avert a national disaster.
Due to the terrain of the riverine areas it is sometimes difficult for the Nigerian security agencies to tackle this menace as the miscreants can easily navigate the waterways.
Further scientific research is needed to ascertain the health effect of inhaling this black soot so as to avoid a bigger problem in the future.