Port Harcourt — The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, has cautioned the youths of Ogoni against all forms of illegal oil bunkering and refining activities in the creeks of Ogoniland in order not to re-pollute the area, and make the ongoing clean-up an effort in futility.
Project co-ordinator of HYPREP, Dr Ferdinand Giadom, warned that constant re-pollution through artisanal refining activities, will only undermine the wellbeing, sustainability and livelihoods of Ogoni people as well as undermine the future of Ogoni children.
Giadom explained that there were many other better ways of attaining to livelihoods rather than illegal oil bunkering that is followed with incessant oil spills, adding that HYPREP was providing alternative livelihoods for the people.
He gave the advice while briefing newsmen at end of the workshop on detailed site characterization, remediation and framework development in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
“We use this medium again to appeal to our youths and our communities that we cannot cut our nose to spite our face, regardless of the economic activities we have to stop all forms of illegal oil bunkering and refinning activities in the creeks.
“People think they’re resorting to that as a means of livelihoods, but in the long run, our entire ecosystem will die; and whatever rewards they think they’re getting from that process cannot pay for the collective environmental damage that we are bringing to ourselves.
“The marine ecosytemn of Ogoniland is very rich, and it’s the base of the food chain of the area, constant repollution through artisanal refining activities will only undermine our wellbeing, sustainability and livelihoods as well as undermine the future of our children.
“HYPREP in its own way is trying to provide alternative livelihoods to Ogoni youths to discourage them from attempting to go into this illegal oil bunkering and refinning activities that is causing great damage to our ecosystem.”
The HYPREP boss also disclosed that parts of the recommendations of the UNEP Report was to protect Ogoni wetlands with the intent of declaring some Ogoni wetlands as Ramsar sites.
“If we protect these wetlands and eventually, are able to make Ogoni wetlands to be classified under the Ramsar Protocol, it will be another means through which there will be many opportunities to be created from it because there are international funding baskets where we will be eligible to apply for fundings for further development and upgrade of our economic wellbeing.
“So it is going to be in the ultimate interest of Ogoni youths today and our future to have these areas protected from incessant oil spills that are attendant to illegal oil bunkering that are being carried out.”
It should be noted that a Ramsar site is a wetland of international importance, of which the ecosystems and the biodiversity within the area can receive international and local interventions.
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