Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Oil spills caused polluted environment on Unity Oilfields

By Kor Chop Leek

Photo: Fire outbreak at Unity oilfields in Rubkona

December 23rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – On 18th December 2019, crude oil leaked seriously on the ambient environment in Unity Oilfields known as “Manga”, threatening the lives of civilians and animals.  The already contaminated environment witnessed another dangerous spoilage again. The three blocks are being operated by the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, GNPO, under China National Petroleum Company before South Sudan Independence.

On 22nd December 2019, the wildfire caught up with leaked oil spills on the ground and burst in to fire seriously which caused serious smoke in the air. This again exacerbated and posted a big risk on civilians. No press statement released yet by both oil Operation Company and the government of South Sudan’s National Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in Juba.

In a statement released by the state minister of Northern Liech of Former Unity, Mr. Lam Tunguar, and seen by Radio Tamazuj, he said, the cattle keepers burn dry grass unknowing there is oil leaking from the pipelines dangerous with fire in the area. The State Minister holds this oil companies, accusing them of not protecting the environment. According to him, place is Budaang Payam of Rubkona County. Sudd Environment Agecny, a national NGO in the country posted in her Facebook page the same incidents with great concern. Several social media activists condemned this irresponsible acts, and hold oil companies in Unity Oilfields responsible for not caring for protection of health of the people.

Such incidents continue to jeopardizing the lives of thousands of civilians proximate to oilfields. They lack clean drinking water, many unknown ailments occurred in the areas and the environment is seriously contaminated, women experienced births with multiple deformities. Infertility keep rising among men and women in the area including the death of hundreds of animals. Numerous statements were issued on that tragedy by local authority, civilians, and National and International organizations on that concern, calling upon the oil operating companies in the country to respect and care for the lives of civilians and to put protection measure to protect the environment from pollution. Yet no response received from the oil consortia.

The author is calling upon both GNPOC and MPM for urgent intervention to arrest the situation and to lay out a protection mechanism as stipulated in oil petroleum Act 2012. The author is further extended his call upon the National Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in the country to put pressure on the oil company to compensate the civilians affected by the oil activities and particularly the current oil spills in unity oilfields.

The author is a concern South Sudanese and he is reachable at korpuoch@gmail.com.


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