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South Sudan buries reports on oil pollution, birth defects

The Associated Press
Dar Petroleum Operating Co.
the Greater Pioneer Operating Co.
the Women’s Association
Ngor Maluol’s
the United Nations
Dar Petroleum’s
the Padang Community Union
Petroleum, Mining & Industry
the Ministry of Health
the National Health Laboratory Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
China National Petroleum Corp.
the World Health Organization
the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution
the AP.But Dar Petroleum
China National Petroleum and Sinopec
South Sudan’s
Ministry of Petroleum, Greater Pioneer Operating Company
the Health of Mother Earth Foundation
Ogoniland, Nigeria
the Greater Pioneer Operating Company
the Aga Khan Hospital
Deng Awaj Awol
the NMS Labs
the World Bank
the Danish Institute for International Studies

Abui Mou Kueth’s
Egbert Wesselink
Simon Ngor
Bar Alony Wol
Nyaweir Ayik Monyuak
Ajok Ayel
Jessica Uma
Rick Steiner
Chan Liol
Stephen Dhieu Dau
Salva Kiir
Yuahanna Ayuel
Phillips Anyang Ngong
Awow Daniel Chuang
Nnimmo Bassey
Cornelious Mayak Geer
Robert Middleberg
Luke Patey
Chen Si

South Sudanese

South Sudan’s
Upper Nile
the Niger Delta

No matching tags

South Sudan
Upper Nile
South Africa
Nile Petroleum

’s civil war

Positivity     42.00%   
   Negativity   58.00%
The New York Times
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PALOCH, South Sudan (AP) — The oil industry in South Sudan has left a landscape pocked with hundreds of open waste pits, the water and soil contaminated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals including mercury, manganese, and arsenic, according to four environmental reports obtained by The Associated Press.The reports also contain accounts of “alarming” birth defects, miscarriages and other health problems among residents of the region and soldiers who have been stationed there. And all of them knew someone who had given birth to a child with deformities, had struggled to conceive or had miscarriages.When some of the shyer women were hesitant to speak up, the more vocal ones encouraged them to share their experiences.Ajok Ayel said she lost a child in 2010 and hasn’t been able to get pregnant since.“I’d like to leave if possible,” said Jessica Uma, 34, who said she had two miscarriages in 2012 and 2013 and used to get body rashes when showering.When doctors removed Ngor Maluol’s dead daughter after she miscarried in 2018, the baby’s head was concave and looked as if she’d been hit, she said.Many women can’t even get pregnant, Monyuak said.Many of the residents said the health problems got worse after people started drinking water from white containers that began appearing several years ago in markets and along roadsides.The same containers were strewn about the Dar Petroleum chemical junkyard, with labels saying they contained a chemical demulsifier called Phasetreat, used by the oil company during drilling to separate crude oil from water. The chemicals were also found in the soil and in urine samples from some of the soldiers.“These results are clearly indicating that heavy metals and petrochemicals have contaminated the area,” the summary stated, and it recommended more studies to see if the pollution is connected with the health problems.In July 2018, Greater Pioneer — which is comprised of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., the Malaysian state-owned Petronas as well as South Sudanese and Indian drillers — commissioned a study by EnviroCare, a South Sudanese waste management company, to determine the state of some oil operations in Unity state that had been abandoned during the country’s civil war.The company didn’t do any chemical testing but did find significant oil spillage and water pollution at the waste treatment facility. South Sudan expects its oil industry to generate $99 million in revenue each month from July 2019 to June 2020, according to the national budget.But to date no clean-up has been done, residents say.‘PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY’There is no definitive proof that the pollution or the chemical containers caused the birth defects and other health problems that residents around Paloch are complaining of. Years of fighting have impeded people’s access to medical care.Exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, manganese and benzene can cause a variety of health problems including cancer, respiratory problems, impotence and stillbirths, according to the World Health Organization.South Sudan has the seventh highest rate of pollution-related deaths in the world, according to the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, an organization of national environment ministries, international development organizations and NGOs.Two sets of data seen by the AP, one from a local advocacy group focused on the environment and another by the health ministry, noted an increase in birth deformities and premature deliveries in Unity state between 2015 and 2017.Birth deformities around the oil fields in Ruweng state (formerly part of Unity state), almost tripled between 2015 and 2017, from 19% to 54%, according to an environmental study by the local advocacy group. The letter notes that the data were limited to hospital deliveries and excluded babies delivered at home.The letter also notes that before oil production in the region, in 1999, “there were no alarming reports of women giving birth to deformed babies, experiencing premature birth(s) amongst other environmental related diseases.”Steiner, the American oil pollution adviser, said there is substantial medicalliterature linking hydrocarbon exposure with birth defects and that it can reasonably be concluded that petroleum exposure could be a contributing cause of the birth defects in the region.“The pollution is a public health and environmental emergency,” he said.After the 2018 report on Upper Nile was presented to the government, officials acknowledged the problem, calling it a “significant risk to the people living within the vicinity of the oil fields and the surrounding environment,” and instructed Dar Petroleum to move ahead with the proposed clean-up, according to a December 2018 letter from the oil ministry seen by the AP.But Dar Petroleum -- a consortium that includes China National Petroleum and Sinopec, another state-owned Chinese company, along with companies in Malaysia and Egypt and South Sudan’s state owned oil company __ never acted, according to two people with close knowledge of the oil operations in the area who didn’t want to be named for fear of their safety.AP called China National Petroleum Corp. The AP also reached out to Petronas, which did not respond to requests for comment.South Sudan’s 2012 Petroleum Act says anyone working in the oil industry must comply with best international practices on health and safety.President Salva Kiir acknowledged in a statement in January that there is a pollution problem in the oilfields and surrounding areas, and said he wants to bring proper environmental standards to the country’s oil exploration operations.The government in January asked for proposals from companies to perform an “environmental audit” that will evaluate how to clean up the existing pollution and put in place best practices for future oil exploration.

As said here by SAM MEDNICK