Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill

Equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster fifty times over, the oil pollution in the Gulf is causing damage, some of which is irreversible and some that will be decades in correcting.  Millions have lost their livelihood, their communities, and their water.  Those still in the area are often hopelessly lost in poverty; some are rising up in revolt.  It's been going on, year after year, the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez, every year for FIFTY years.

Wonder where?  Nigeria, the Niger Delta, and the Gulf of Guinea.

The company at fault is not BP.  It's Royal Dutch Shell and the corrupt local government.  Folks have been jailed, beaten, tortured, and some just murdered, for protesting the destruction of the region.  No longer fit for farming or fishing, polluted beyond usability, the land and surrounding waters are their home and life, stolen from them by greed and big oil.  The warm Delta waters are a key spawning ground for tuna and other important species in the Gulf of Guinea.  The region's pollution exacerbates an already dramatic decline in those fish populations. 

So here in the U.S., the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has caused extraordinary damage and expense.

Folks in the Niger Delta sympathize with our Gulf residents and the oil spill problems, but they shrug and wonder why the world-wide media attention.  The same thing has been happening to them for fifty years and no one cares, no one helps, no outcry, no global interest, nothing. 

From the The Guardian, "We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air."

"The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months."  See the LINK here to The Guardian's article.