Beek Mabior Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: The growing environmental crisis of mining in South Sudan

By Beek Mabior,

Petroleum wastes in Unity Oilfields, Unity State (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

Nov 30, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The mining activities in South Sudan are causing many challenges both to the humans and environment. South Sudan is endowed with many natural resources and there’re a lot of mining activities taking place right now in the country. The mining activities are affecting people, animals and environment. The ongoing mining activities across the country have engineered many issues for the humans, animals and environment. Moreover, mining has negative impact on the biodiversity and humans. For instance, the extraction of petroleum in Upper Nile Region has affected the humans, animals and environment.

The extraction of petroleum in Unity and Upper Nile states has caused many challenges to the humans, animals and environment. They residents of oil producing areas has been complaining often about how the oil has affect them with their animals and environment. They’ve been complaining about the poor oil waste mismanagement that has polluted their water resource, environment and affect their health.

For example, they residents of Melut has been complaining a lot about oil contamination in their area. They’ve been complaining about how their animals’ health has been affected after their cattle drunk the oil contaminated water.

Additionally, oil has been affecting the environment negatively in oil producing areas and that issue need to be effectively and efficiently address by the oil companies. They oil companies need to ensure that oil is manage in a way that’ll not affect the environment. They need to make sure that oil is manage in a manner that doesn’t affect the health of people and animals and contaminated the very same water resource that living creatures depend on for their survival in oil producing areas in Upper Nile Region. Mining can’t be stop in South Sudan because it is a source of revenues for the country but its need to be done in a way that doesn’t affect the environment and living things. Furthermore, one of the greatest subset of mining that affects people are the pollutants that end up in the water which lead to poor water quality.

Moreover, people are affected by mining activities in many ways. There’re various sicknesses that come from the pollutants that are released into the atmosphere and water bodies during the mining processes. The large quantities of toxic air pollutants such as the suspended particulate matter such as cadmium are emitted. Metals are usually emitted into the atmosphere as some particulates as well. Additionally, there’re likewise many occupational health issues that mining workers face. Most of the miners suffer from various respiratory and skin maladies such as silicosis or black lung disease and asbestosis.

Furthermore, Sand and stone mining in South Sudan has likewise created many environmental setbacks. The sand mining has endangered and put the lives of both domestic animals and wildlife at a greater risk. The erosion of exposed hillsides, tailings dams, mine dumps and resultant siltation of drainages and rivers can greatly affect the surrounding areas. The dissolution and transport of metals and heavy metals by run-off and ground water is another example of environmental problems with mining activities.

Additionally, the major environmental problems of mining include loss of biodiversity, formation of sinkholes, soil pollution, contamination of surface and groundwater by the toxic chemicals from mining processes. Moreover, mining also lead to deforestation, the forest logging is done in the vicinity of mines to make space for the storage of the created debris and soil. The destruction of the forests and habitats are the main components of biodiversity losses but direct contamination engineered by mine-extracted materials and indirect pollution through meals, lands and water bodies affect folks, wild animals, domestic animals, vegetation and microorganisms.

Lastly, we as South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) would like to take this opportunity to urge the mining companies across the country to pay attention and address the environmental and humans’ challenges associated with mining activities. We’d also like to urge the ministry of environment and ministry of mining plus ministry of petroleum to once again remind the mining companies to strictly adhere to the rules of environmental protection and safeguard our environment, animals and people from environmental issues of mining activities in the country. We need the health of people, animals, birds, other living creatures and the entire environment to be safeguard from environmental issues associated with any mining activities in South Sudan.

The author is the National Project Coordinator of South Sudan Environmental Advocates(SSEA) and can be reached via his Email: beekmabior2020ssea@gmail.comWeb:www.sseasouthsudan.org.

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