Brass oil spill clean-up: Environmentalists decry alleged use of dispersants


oillspill-nigeriaEnvironmental Rights Action/Friends of The Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has decried the alleged use of dispersants in oil spill cleau-up along  the Atlantic coastline in Bayelsa.

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Mr Alagoa Morris, the Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN in Bayelsa, made the criticism in its field report made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Tuesday.

The ERA/FoEN, an environmental rights group, has been monitoring  the ongoing clean-up of crude from Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) facilities discharged into the Atlantic Ocean on Nov. 27.

According to the report, oil firms use dispersants which are chemicals to dissolve and break down crude oil while combatting major oil spills.

“Dispersants are unsafe for human and aquatic life.”

In the report, ERA/FoEN said that the exercise was going on without the participation of the impacted communities and called for transparency and the adoption of best practices in the exercise.

“ERA/FoEN visited Odioama and environs in Brass LGA on Dec. 1, 2013, and has since made its initial findings public.

“Nigerian Agip Oil Company/Eni told Bloomberg News on Dec. 5 that the spill was found during loading operations on Nov. 27, 2013.

“This confirms that the spill was caused by operational failure during the loading of crude oil at the terminal.

“Another follow up visit on Dec. 6 showed that Okpoama, Ewoama and Odioama communities and fishing camps in Brass were all impacted.

“Oil workers were sighted in Odioama environment doing clean-up of the spill, even though this is yet to take place around Okpoama and Ewoama axis,“ the group said.

The NGO further urged the oil firm to engage the leadership of the impacted communities, to allay fears on the toxicity of the dispersants it was using in the clean-up.

ERA/FoEN further urged relevant agencies of government to take steps to protect the environment, livelihood and health of impacted people.

It listed the agencies to include Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency and Ministries of Environment.

When contacted for reactions on the development, Mr Tajudeen Adigun, the spokesman for the oil firm, said he was not aware of the development. (NAN)

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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