Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 16 February 2007

Oil exploitation in South Sudan may induce health emergency

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By Choul Dugak

Feb 15, 2007 — Exploring for oil and extracting it from the most regions in south Sudan has boosted the NIF regime’s income over the last two decades, however, it has also resulted in a bad health condition due to the negative effects on the local environment and on the health of persons who live in the petroleum-production areas. Since the 1970s I think more than12 billion barrels of crude oil have been pumped from oil fields in the south Sudan. Petroleum has been the “engine” for NIF’s economy, and helping it elites have good economy incomes.

I believe Oil accounts have now reached some thing from 70 to 80% of the nation’s export earnings and of the national government’s budget. While boosting the Sudanese economy, oil production has also had serious consequences for the environment. For instance, in just the period of 1978 through 1995, I think more than 10 to 20 billion gallons or 100 billion liters of toxic wastes and crude oil were discharged into the land and waterways of White Nile.

The White Nile used by many communities that are close to oil fields showed high levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons in the waters. Even though there were no researchers who studies the pollution from Sudan’s oil industry, yet I’m pretty well aware that there still negative health consequences for residents of the Sudan’s Nile region. This is very stern issue and the GOSS most have strategy to allotted people who can investigated this health issue very carefully since NIF regime doesn’t care for the health of southern citizens. One study found that women living in communities near oil fields reported higher rates of such symptoms as tiredness, sore throat, headache, red eyes, earache, diarrhea, and gastritis. Another study found that the risk of spontaneous abortions was 2.5 times as high in women living in the proximity of oil fields.

Another Research done in 1998 found significantly higher rates of cancer among males in a village located in an oil-producing area. The GOSS south most know that healthy environment is very important for the people of south Sudan it most also warn those oil contractors to use south natural resources in a healthy way. They most run their business safely and consider the lives of close residents near oil fields. significantly higher overall incidence of cancers in both men and women in areas where oil exploitation had been on going for at least 20 years in other countries around the globe. Importantly elevated levels were found for cancers of the stomach, rectum, skin melanoma, soft tissue, and kidney in men and for cancers of the cervix and lymph nodes in women. There was also an increase in leukemia among children.

The Goss most demanded oil-production companies to clean up the environmental pollution that they have created and compensate them for damages caused by oil-related contamination. Since the government of south Sudan is starting every thing from zero, it has to be wise in covering some waste pits, building some schools, and constructing roads, all without facing the root of the problem.

Here are several measures to deal with the environmental and health damage caused by oil exploitation. The government should conduct an evaluation of the environmental situation in the White Nile region as well as develop and oversee the implementation of a plan to repair the environmental damage that has already happened and to limit further destruction. In addition, the government should acknowledge the need for health impact assessments as an integral feature of policy development and evaluation, and should move ahead in developing effective mechanisms to enforce the laws protecting the environment and the health of south Sudanese citizens. For their part, oil companies should change their practices to minimize environmental impacts in the White Nile region and to build partnerships with local communities so that local residents benefit from development. Safety first for the people of south Sudan, they have suffered for many years, it time now for them to relish their land without any fear or unhealthy environment.

* Choul Dugak is base in US and he can be reach at choullieth@hotmail.com



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