Turning into an “ecological wasteland”

Oil pollution – turning South Sudan into an “ecological wasteland” – scientific study issued by UN environmental institute and Chinese university

Published in October, 2018, “The Environmental and Social Impacts of Oil Exploration and Production on Melut Basin of South Sudan” was written by Emmanuel Ladu Legge Loro of the UN Environment – Tongji Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Development at Tongji University, Shanghai, P.R. China, and by Lu Zhibo, Loro’s supervising professor.

Drawing upon the research commissioned and conducted by Germany’s Sign of Hope, the paper made the following key points:

Oil pollution, spills and leaks have turned much of South Sudan into an “ecological wasteland”.

The levels of pollution on South Sudan’s land and in its water are “alarming” – as are the losses of biodiversity and soil fertility.

The result: today’s and future generations are being and will be denied their right to food.

Thanks to oil pollution, spills and leaks, such rivers as the Nile and such wetlands as the Sudd are seriously contaminated. This contamination is throttling their habitats.

Commencement of oil production has repeatedly been accompanied by the massive expulsion of local residents. This flight has been exacerbated by the destruction of livelihoods in local communities.

The result: South Sudan is awash in “environmental refugees” – most of them women caring for their children – who have been compelled to or forced to flee their homes. Prime destination of these refugees: the burgeoning slums of Juba and other cities in South Sudan.

Inefficient, unmonitored oil production processes have yielded industry-high amounts of produced water – which is generally not properly processed.

Oil spills and gas flares have led to the extinction of valuable and holy species of plants.

Greed and corruption ensuing from oil production have wrecked local societies.

And the true facts of South Sudan’s oil-caused environmental disaster have yet to emerge. Monitoring of oil operations’ meeting of environmental standards is sketchy at best – due to a corruption-fuelled civil war, a lack of interest on the part of government officials and of consortia, and to the widespread abandonment of rigs.