Anger seethes on mar­gins of his­toric clean-up in Nige­ria’s Delta

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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.

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