Trees, animals dying, as spill from Shell’s oil field devastates Bayelsa community

Residents of Tambiri I and II in Tein community, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, are demanding that Shell should clean up their community after a leak from one of the oil fields operated by the company.

Large volumes of crude were discharged into the environment from the Shell-operated oil field on August 11, and the community alleged that the oil spill and subsequent pollution of the surrounding area was caused by equipment failure.

But Precious Okolobo, Shell’s Media Relations Manager, released a brief statement claiming that the said well “has not been producing oil”.

However, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), a Non-Governmental Organisation, said it conducted an impact analysis on the oil field and released a report that confirmed Shell’s culpability.

Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operation of the organisation, advised the oil company to first pay a visit to the oil site rather than dismiss the report.

“The shrubs and immediate environment of the wellhead (about 10 meters away) tells the tale that a toxic substance sprayed into the air and they bear testimony,” Morris stated in his report.

“No aquatic life, including other animals, would remain in such a heavily-polluted environment,.

“They will die or migrate to other places. A visit to this environment in three months may present an environment with dead trees and shrubs.”

    The ERA/FoEN also condemned a “purported” joint investigation that was said to have been carried out on the sight by without any representative from the community.

    It called on the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and other oil and gas industry regulators to ensure a transparent resolution of the oil spillage issues.

    The group also recommended that Shell should carry out recovery of spilled crude, clean up the impacted site “in the interest of the environment”.

    It also advised residents of the community to remain peaceful while they take all necessary steps to get the oil spillage resolved.

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