News / Africa

Nigeria Mulls Gas Flare Crackdown

An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006 (file photo).An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006 (file photo).
x
An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006 (file photo).
An unidentified woman carries her tapioca after drying it near a gas flare belonging to the Shell oil company in Utorogun, Nigeria, March 5, 2006 (file photo).
Heather Murdock
BAYELSA STATE, Nigeria — Officials in Nigeria say new laws are expected to pass this year banning dangerous gas flares that are damaging the country's environment and health and wasting natural resources.  People in the oil-and gas-producing Niger Delta say the flares have been making people sick for decades, but past bans on the practice have largely been ineffective.
 
By day, gas flares in the Niger Delta—constantly burning flames atop large metal pipes—are an eerie reminder of the waste and pollution associated with the oil industry in Nigeria.  By night, locals say the flares are so bright in some places they fear it damages their eyes.  
 
Felix Fawei is a community leader in a remote area of the oil-rich Niger Delta, where fishing villages on the rivers and creeks are only accessible by boat and most people have no access to electricity.

"There are so many flares around," said Fawei.  "So even sometimes you see that the water is very bright, but this area is very dark, because of this excess of flare."

The flares emit poisonous chemicals that make people sick and damage the farming and fishing industries.  Fawei says the flares cause acid rain, cancer and a host of respiratory problems.
 
Flaring also wastes natural gas which could otherwise help power Africa's most populous country.  Nigeria's BusinessDay newspaper reports $1 billion is lost yearly by burning gas that could otherwise be sold.

This map shows gas flare activity around Nigeria as of July 3, 2012.This map shows gas flare activity around Nigeria as of July 3, 2012.
x
This map shows gas flare activity around Nigeria as of July 3, 2012.
This map shows gas flare activity around Nigeria as of July 3, 2012.
Oil companies say they flare off the gas because instability and lack of infrastructure make it hard to use it productively.

Indutimi Komonibo, special adviser on oil and gas to the governor of Bayelsa State, says it's not just Nigeria that is suffering from flaring, and that the whole world should be concerned.

"Gas flaring causes climate change, ozone layer depletion.  Even the soot that is released into the environment causes a lot of disaster," Komonibo noted.
 
Komonibo says by the end of the year new legislation in Nigeria is expected to permanently ban flaring.  But activist groups say the practice was banned first in 1969 and again 10 years later.  Even this year, a Nigerian judge declared flaring illegal, saying it is a violation of the people's rights.
 
Activist group "Justice in Nigeria Now" says for decades oil companies have been paying nominal fines to circumvent bans.
 
The World Bank says gas flaring accounts for a third of Nigeria's carbon emissions and about 1.2 percent of carbon emissions worldwide.  Nigeria is second only to Russia in terms of the volume of gas flared off yearly.  
 
Nigeria is also second only to Russia in terms of the reduction of flaring between 2005 and 2010.  Royal Dutch Shell, the largest oil company in Nigeria says it has reduced flaring by 60 percent over the past nine years.
 
Activist group Environmental Rights Action, however, says the numbers are skewed and demand the immediate shutdown of oil platforms that still flare.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Chris Kandrat
July 09, 2012 2:15 PM
Should of seen it earlier, it is a huge problem far as carbon which is not helping the climate change situation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid