Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oil Hurts Part Deux: Oil Spills in Nigeria

We now know that the BP oil spill in the Gulf is going to have immense effects for the Gulf's people, economy, and ecosystem. However, there are oil spills of epic proportions occurring in Nigeria almost every year.

According to the New York Times, The Niger Delta has endured oil spills that rival Exxon Valdez for over 50 years (by some estimates). The oil spews every week and has left many a deserted swamp in its wake. Let this shocking quote sink in:

"As many as 546 million gallons of oil spilled into the Niger Delta over the last five decades, or nearly 11 million gallons a year, a team of experts for the Nigerian government and international and local environmental groups concluded in a 2006 report. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 dumped an estimated 10.8 million gallons of oil into the waters off Alaska." [emphasis mine]

What's just shocking to me is that we are so quick to be devastated and moved to action when disasters such as the BP oil spill are occurring on our land, but what about the same disasters occurring in other countries? What about the women, children and men of Nigeria? What about them? Imagine the health effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill compounded 50 years in a row--that's Nigeria. Think about it.

To learn more about the immensity of Nigeria's oil spills check out this New York Times article, here.

*photo credit: Paul Taggart/Boston Globe

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