Anger seethes on margins of historic clean-up in Nigeria’s Delta
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria —Nearly a decade after two catastrophic oil spills in the Niger Delta, a comprehensive clean-up has finally been launched in the southern Nigerian region.
Oil companies and activists hope it will be a blueprint for wider rehabilitation but other badly polluted communities are unhappy not to be included.
Earlier this month, crews of young men equipped with high pressure hoses began to attack the crude oil that has blighted the creeks and mangrove swamps in the area where they live.
The workers from Bodo in Rivers State are beginning a three-year project that claims to mark a new approach to cleaning up the delta, the vast polluted swampland that pumps the oil vital to Africa’s largest economy.
Four hundred workers will clear dead foliage and spilled oil before planting new mangroves. The site where they are working is small but organisers hope the anti-pollution drive can be repeated elsewhere in the delta.
Unlike clean-up operations run routinely by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, this one is backed by local communities and teams of scientists who will take samples of water, mud and soil in each area to measure progress and determine the best cleaning method.
Funded by Shell and its joint venture partners, the clean-up is the culmination of years of legal wrangling and international pressure to overcome animosity and mutual suspicion that have divided locals, the government and oil companies.— Reuters.