National, News

Ruweng ripped apart by oil pollution

By Mamer Abraham


Residents of Ruweng Administrative Area decry the health-wise loss of a generation of young people as a result of environmental degradation.

Bol Dau, a resident of Ruweng whose nephew was born in April with a deformity, disclosed that scientific evidence shows that the deformity is linked to oil pollution.

He disclosed that the medical report from the doctor in Nairobi disclosed that the birth deformity of the deceased son of his brother Chan Dau was related to an infection related to water pollution that the mother of the baby was exposed to for 5–6 years.

Bol argued that there had not been anyone from his family lineage or the family lineage of his sister-in-law who had been experiencing several miscarriages and birth defects like his sister-in-law currently does.

According to him, many young girls experience miscarriages and stillbirth while others turn infertile, as well as cases of diseases such as hepatitis.

“By the time we realize that our country has wasted a lot of generations, it will be too late. You find a lot of young girls at the age of twenty-five having a miscarriage; some are still giving birth; others are not giving birth; hepatitis; these four things are associated with the environment in which they are living,” he lamented.

“And even some cows are giving birth to cattle that have six legs,” he added.

He stated that the doctor recommended that the woman should at least live far away from Ruweng, where her pregnancy would be monitored by doctors.

He added that the infection is already in the blood and will take up to five to six years for it to change based on the environment.

Bol stressed that the national government and Greater Pioneer Operating Company (GPOC) were to facilitate the lady’s staying in a safer place that is far from the polluted area, but they have delayed paying the money for facilitating her.

He urged the government to take immediate action to protect the environment, ensuring that good hospitals are constructed in the area and the oil spill is properly managed.

“If there was a good hospital, there could be no way that she could get pregnant with such a baby without people noticing it” he noted.

Diar Raanlei, another resident of Ruweng Administrative Area, also said many people do not have access to clean water due to inadequate water pumps.

He stated that some areas were not good for digging water pumps and taps, and that had forced some people to depend on water from ponds and streams.

He maintained that planting trees around the production sites could help contain the situation as the oil-producing companies employ proper management of pipelines.

According to Diar, many people lose their livelihoods because their cattle die occasionally and their lands are not productive as a result of the oil pollution.

“The companies should control the area in a way that will not affect the people. They can plant trees around the oil field. Hospitals should be put in place so that people can get treated,” he suggested.

“Now there are the most dangerous diseases. There is a water-borne disease, plus hepatitis B,” he explained.

Diar stated that some of the laboratory reports that were sent to the region indicated that birth defects in Ruweng were caused by oil production in the area, but the oil-producing companies do not accept this.

Late last month, the chief administrator of Ruweng Administrative Area, Stephano Wieu, said during his presentation at the Third High-Level Meeting on Environmental Issues that at least seven children had been born deformed so far in the area.

He argued that a simple conclusion was made that birth defects in the oil-producing states and Ruweng were caused by oil production, given the fact that they were not happening in other states and administrative areas that do not produce oil.

The representative of the oil-producing companies, Dr. Stephen Duop, said during his presentation that stringent measures are needed for the safety of the environment, stressing that SPOC had in place plans including the planting of trees and proper waste management.

“If produced water is not treated viably, it may harm the environment due to its toxicity. It always has toxins in it, so if it is not treated well, it can, of course, lead to environmental pollution,” he explained.

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