Fiery speech on Black Tide of oil pollution by leading medical expert in South Sudan
Dr. Ayak Chol Denk Alak at the Hagana Festival of the Arts and Society, March 7th, Juba, South Sudan
“Here’s the issue: effluents from oil. And here’s what these pollutants are causing: infertility among women, and birth defects among the women who do bear children. Their children are being born without heads, without limbs and with other deformities. Men have erectile dysfunctions and are committing suicide because of them. People have rashes on their bodies.
And all because the water is polluted.
People are dying – while oil companies build buildings in Juba.
Here’s something else that these pollutants are causing. The degradation of the environment. And what this means in practical terms for the people: they can’t farm in many cases. And what grows can’t be eaten. This robs the people in the Upper Nile region. of food security.
And this is the main concern of the people of South Sudan. People living in and around oil production sites, where so much money is coming from, shouldn’t have to be stretching out their hands to beg the UN and other agencies for food.
And last and certainly not least I want to speak about the animals. They are also suffering, like the humans.
It is not fair. What is happening is not fair. The proper management of oil wastes has to be made a priority.
Civil society should be open. Civil should not be threatened.
Civil society should not be intimidated about issue of oil pollution.”
Dr. Ayak Chol Deng Alak is one of South Sudan‘s most remarkable persons. She is an epidemiologist who is specialized sourcing and distribution funding, medications and other resources needed by health care programs. Ayak is also a celebrated poet, and co-founder of the AnaTaban Arts Initiative, which stages the Hagana Festival every year.