11 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – A call has been made to oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta region to make the issue of addressing environmental pollution their cardinal operational policy.
A university don, Dr. Steve Wodu, who made the call, pointed out that environmental pollution remains the greatest challenge facing the Niger Delta region.
Wodu, who is an environmental sociologist and senior lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt, explained that as part of efforts to effectively tackle the issues of environmental pollution in the region, there must be a collaborative efforts on the part of all relevant stakeholders.
The university don also called for a synergy between oil companies, regulatory agencies, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders in addressing issues of environmental pollution.
He lamented that the people of the region have lost their means of livelihood as a result of unguarded oil exploration and illegal bunkering activities.
The university teacher also cautioned against deforestation of forest reserves and the use of mangrove as fuel, noting that such practices have led to the destruction of the ecosystem.
He called for sensitisation and public enlightenment campaign against anti-environmental practices.
According to him, “It is unfortunate that people now depend on mangrove reserve for cooking.
“The mangrove is very important in building the ecosystem. It homes a lot of seafood and protects the environment against erosion. Today, with the depletion of the mangrove reserves, the natural seafood has gone extinct and the environment is prone to erosion.
“The activities of oil bunkering and spillages have also rendered the environment desolate.”
As part of the solution to the problem, he advocated for greater funding of research in tertiary institutions on how to tackle issues of environmental pollution.