Environmentalist seeks investigation into Bayelsa gas pollution

Posted by News Express | 27 December 2016 | 1,992 times

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•Environmentalist Alagoa Morris.

An environmentalist, Mr. Alagoa Morris, has called for the conduct of studies to measure the adverse impact of a gas plant located in Gbarantoru operated by Shell.

He made the call in an interview on Saturday in Tombia, near Yenagoa, shortly after an assessment tour of the area.

Morris, who was reacting to reports of suspected air pollution from the natural gas gathering and liquefaction facility causing breathing discomfort to residents, called for scientific studies to trace the source of the pollution.

Residents of Tombia in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa on Friday complained of air pollution, allegedly emanating from oil and gas facilities located near the community.

Mr. Morris urged oil and gas industry regulators to monitor and ensure that the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are always carried out and complied with to the letter.

He noted that the EIA Act requires periodic studies to determine the adverse environmental implications of the project and ascertain when the indices are out of tolerable limits.

His words: “Who monitors compliance with the EIA compliance to ensure that the steps prescribed to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the operations of the plant were ameliorated?

“We have got reports of air pollution, very high temperature caused by gas flare, poor fish catch from the Nun River amongst others, there is a need for studies by scientific experts to compare results with the baseline studies in the EIA report.

“The results of these studies will then form the basis to request for measures to ameliorate the impact of the operations; the local and state governments should step up action in the interest of the health of residents in the area.

“But the questions, do they even have the EIA report which is supposed to be a pubic document?

“The communities are losing on all fronts as they only bear the adverse effects of oil and gas operations while the benefits in form of social amenities elude them.”

The environmentalist also noted that gas flare in the area and resultant acid rain makes rain water unsafe for drinking but regretted that communities surrounding the plant lack access to potable water.

Mr. Precious Okolobo, Media Relations Manager at SPDC, denied that the air pollution was from its gas processing and gathering facility.

“There is no air pollution from our Gbarantoru plant; the plant is running efficiently,” he said.

Mr. Okolobo pointed out that a similar occurrence was reported in Port Harcourt where there was no gas plant.

“There is a general problem that people do not understand and people have no right to blame SPDC for everything that goes wrong,” he said.

Source: News Express

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