“In the Niger Delta, people have been living with dead fish, oily water and gas flares for 50 years” (The Oil Spills We Don’t Hear About, Miss Anene Ejikeme).
The commentary “The Oil Spills We Don’t Hear About” (June 5, 2010) affirms two things: the world is in an environmental slump, and that Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC) simply do not have the political will or institutional means to introduce measures to curb ecological self-destruction. In particular, Nigeria’s over-reliance on the petroleum industry for economic growth – which is ironically resulting in the loss of biodiversity and unsustainable development – has had terrible ramifications on the quality of life and living conditions.
If only the oil spills and environmental abuse in the Niger Delta could receive greater global attention over the decades; attention that is a fraction of the international outrage that erupted following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. For far too long Shell has been allowed to irresponsibly collude with the corrupt and ineffective Nigerian administration and blatantly turn a blind eye to the corrosion of oil-exploration equipment (pipelines, tankers) and badly-managed oil production operations.
Our Earth can ill-afford further inaction, apathy and lethargy. If the international community – including MEDC and LEDC – fail to take substantive efforts harmonise national, regional and international policies, there would be nothing left for future generations to fight for.
A version of this article was published in the International Herald Tribune, the Global Edition of The New York Times.