Gas flaring: Health hazards threaten communities in Niger Delta

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Many communities in the Niger Delta face serious health complications due to toxic air breathe in by indigene following continued gas flaring in the region.
In a report by BudglT titled ‘Gas Flaring in Nigeria: Stop the Soot’, nearly 30 million lives face health hazards due to the menace.
 “If it (gas flaring) continues at this rate, over 784.59 billion cubic meters of Nigerian gas will be flared into the Niger Delta communities and offshore regions in the next 75 years,” the documentary stated.
Analysis by BudgIT extractive team shows that between 2001 and 2016, the volume of gas produced increased by 91.13 percent, whereas, the volume of gas flared reduced by only 38.06 percent.
BudgIT findings have shown that it has become legal to flare gas in Nigeria without written permission to the minister of petroleum resources since 1984.
At current market rate and at Nigeria’s current 9.46 percent gas flare rate, the country stands to lose $2.5 billion yearly to gas flaring, according to the documentary.
A visit by BudgIT to the Niger Delta in April 2017, showed that gas flares occur in close proximity with neighbourhoods, specifically in Polaku and Ogu communities in Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Meanwhile experts have described the federal government 3-point strategy to end gas flaring by 2020 as an “undue optimism”, insisting that elusive strategies and other inherent challenges, would ensure that the desire remained a pipe dream.
Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, while discussing the tripod strategy on how the state-owned company will tackle gas flaring in the oil sector in a paper he delivered at the just-concluded 50th Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, in Houston, United States, said gas flaring in Nigeria has reduced to 10 percent.
According to him, gas flaring has reduced significantly from 25% to 10% in the last decade.
A United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, report says approximately 600,000 people die yearly in Africa as a result of air pollution and gas flaring which is a key driver of air pollution in oil-producing communities, with Nigeria accounting for 40 percent of all gas flared in Africa.

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