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Monday, 15 August 2011

U.N. Scientific Report Slams Shell for Nigeria Oil Pollution

It clings to the vegetation, coats the waterways and in some parts just gushes brazenly into the swamp.

This is the legacy of more than 50 years of oil drilling in Nigeria.

A U.N. report released on Thursday is placing the blame for this ecological disaster on Royal Dutch Shell and the Nigerian government.

The report calls for the world's largest ever oil clean-up operation, with an initial price tag of one billion dollars.

Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International says the report is welcome news and that the scientific findings confirm what many locals have suspected for a long time.

[Audrey Gaughran, Global Thematic Programme, Amnesty International]:

''So this exposure of Shell's failure to clean up is extremely serious, because Shell's often maintained that it operates to best international standards; that is totally debunked by this report.''

Another finding of the report is that area's groundwater and not just its lakes and streams are completely polluted.

[Audrey Gaughran, Global Thematic Programme, Amnesty International]

"The human impact is that people are drinking polluted water, growing crops on polluted land, breathing polluted air, their health is at risk. They're trying to fish in polluted water - if they can find fish - which becomes increasingly difficult. So, the cumulative impact of this - and this has been going on for 50 years in the Delta - this is incredibly serious, and hopefully this U.N. report, because it's science-based and peer reviewed science, will move the debate forward and move us towards actually dealing with the problem in the Delta."

Environmental experts predict it could take up to 30 years to clean up pollution in the Niger Delta.

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