“Sitting on a time bomb” – blockbuster study from highly-respected Sudd Institute on devastating effects of oil pollution on human health in South Sudan

“Sitting on a time bomb” – blockbuster study from highly-respected Sudd Institute on devastating effects of oil pollution on human health in South Sudan

Full report linked here: https://suddinstitute.org/assets/Publications/600ec18816c27_SittingOnATimeBombOilPollutionImpacts_Full.pdf

This report presents the shocking truth about oil production and transportation in South Sudan.

To get this truth, the researchers at the highly-respected Sudd Institute went to the oil fields, and interviewed residents, leaders and officials there.

Their testimony makes for searing reading.

It also highlights the need for the thorough, conscientious and thus credible audit of South Sudan’s environment and society repeatedly promised by its government.

Some excerpts:

A representative of the women in Adar:

“Our air, water, and soil here in Melut are not good. Before the oil production, environment was good. Now our people get sick when they drink water, when they eat, and when they smell air. Oil has ruined our environment and is killing us. Paloch is worse than Melut.”

“Unregulated exploration and production of oil, poor maintenance of oil pipelines, and faulty equipment which allow the oil to spill, coupled with lack of monitoring and enforcement, have turned oil producing areas in South Sudan into some of the world’s most petroleum-polluted ecosystems.”

Traditional leader in Melut Town:

“The produced water that is in Mujama is a time bomb. What if it rains, and the whole area floods, all the water will burst and flow into the river and it will kill everyone here in Melut and Adar.The contaminated water will go to the swamps and rivers.”

“We are getting contamination from water, milk and food because of the petroleum pollution.Before the oil, there were no diseases. Oil has brought diseases.”

A representative of the youth:

“Many diseases are occurring in our area: blindness, reproductive health complications, and sudden deaths are currently taking place in the area due to pollution from oil production. Deaths have become common and women are not giving birth as they used to do in the past. Miscarriages are very common. All this has been conveyed to the government, but so far, no answer. We need doctors to come to the area in order to confirm the cases we have been suffering from.”

A chief from Paloch Payamals:

“When you go to the hospitals, especially maternity ward, you can see what is really happening to us and our wives. There are babies born with defects or prematurely. Women have a lot of miscarriages. Some diseases come to us suddenly and take lives away. In the past as I remember, deaths used not to occur to people suddenly like that. All these are now happening because of oil production.”

Official in Adar:

“Water is brought by water tanks and placed on the roadsides. They are not taken to people’s houses. People have to come and collect it. The water that is provided is not clean because sometimes dust that have chemicals may get in. There are no places to cultivate just like the chief said. It is the places of oilfields that they also cultivate. Livestock also graze and drink from oilfields. There are no special ponds dug for livestock to drink. They drink water in the environment in the oilfields. The soil has changed.Before petroleum[exploration and production], a small piece of land would have high yields. The air is not good. You might have passed near the big pond over there. There is no bird that can pass over that pond. When a bird passes., it dies. These ponds evaporate and have chemicals. Trees are also suffering.”

Traditional leader in Paloch:

“What has been done here is under the responsibility of the government. What is causing diseases is the fact that the companies are not following environmental standards yet the government does not penalize the companies. If the government intervened, this would not be happening. We are here because of the trees. We need medicines. We used to ask why areyou digging the land like this, would it not kill us? The government should have been guiding us. Water smell bad. Air is smelling bad. The companies do not clean up. If they clean up, there would be no problem. The government is the one who should intervene. You are coming to take the information from us, but you will not come back with solution.”