– vow from South Sudan’s new oil minister
by Joseph Oduha | We Are Witness
“We plan to work aggressively to mitigate the degradation of the environment ensuing from oil pollution. We hear our peoples’ please about this.”
The words are from Awow Daniel Chuang, who was recently appointed South Sudan’s minister of petroleum and mining. Mr. Chuang replaced Ezekiel Gatkuoth Lol, who had been widely criticized for his failure to take actions against the oil companies’ widespread poisoning of the country’s water and land.
This pollution is especially pronounced in South Sudan’s north, which is home to its major oil fields.
Prime perpetrators are Petronas of Malaysia, China National Petroleum and India’s ONGC.
The South Sudanese government’s reluctance to enforce its environmental rules was one of the factors that led the government of the United States to slap sanctions on the oil companies operating in the country, as this was seen by the US as constituting a failure to provide the people living in and around the oil fields with basic services.
In addition to stiffening the protection of the environment, the new minister of petroleum made other far reaching promises – to foster transparency of accounting of oil output, sales and revenues.