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Expert Seeks probe Of Air Pollution Reports In Bayelsa
An environmentalist, Alagoa Morris, has called on relevant government agencies to assess the adverse impact on the environment of a gas plant located in Gbarantoru, Bayelsa State, operated by Shell.
Morris spoke at the weekend following complaints of air pollution by the people of Tombia in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa,which has led to breathing difficulties.
The residents alleged that the air pollution emanated from gas emitted by the Shell facility near the community.
After conducting a tour of the area, Morris urged oil and gas industry regulators to monitor the facility and ensure that the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, were carried out and complied to the letter.
He stated that the EIA Act requires periodic studies to determine the environmental implications of such facilities to prevent a situation where they will adversely affect the environment.
“We have got reports of air pollution, very high temperature caused by gas flare, poor fish catch from the Nun River amongst others,” he said adding that “there is a need for studies by scientific experts to compare results with the baseline studies in the EIA report.”
Such results, he said, would form the basis to request for measures to ameliorate the impact of the operations but he questioned whether there are such reports.
“The questions, do they even have the EIA report which is supposed to be a pubic document.
“The Communities are losing on all fronts as they only bear the adverse effects of oil and gas operations while the benefits in form of social amenities elude them,” he said.
Morris observed that the gas flared in the area and resultant acid rain make rain water unsafe for drinking but regretted that communities surrounding the plant lack access to potable water/
However, the Media Relations Manager of Shell, Precious Okolobo, denied that the air pollution was from te company’s gas processing and gathering facility.
“There is no air pollution from our Gbarantoru plant; the plant is running efficiently,” he said, noting that that a similar occurrence was reported in Port Harcourt where there is no gas plant.
There is a general problem that people do not understand and people have no right to blame SPDC for everything that goes wrong,” Okolobo said.