Oil Spills in Nigeria: Where’s the Concern?

By now we’ve heard a ton about the BP Deepwater oil spill.

How the Deepwater spill is a huge environmental disaster. How the US government is stepping in. How it’s the biggest oil spill since the Exxon Valdez.

But what we don’t hear about, especially in the United States, is about other oil spills in other countries.

Which is shocking, considering, according to this article on cnn.com, Nigeria’s Niger Delta area has been suffering the effects of multiple spills. In fact, the area is one of the most oil polluted areas in the world, with an estimated 9 million to 13 million gallons of oil spilled. And oil is reportedly still spilling out.

In fact, there has been so much oil spilled in Nigeria that it makes the Exxon Valdez disaster look like a mere nuisance in comparison.

So what’s with the radio silence?

What’s really interesting is that while BP is currently being vilified in the United States, Shell, another huge oil company, was forced to pay $15.5 million in a civil case in conjunction to spills in Nigeria. But there is no ill-will towards Shell in the United States.

Of course, the BP Deepwater oil spill was tragic, and we shouldn’t forget that. But we should also work to undo the damage caused by spills across the world.

It’s crucial that we focus our clean up efforts and our safety procedures globally, not just locally.

By Jessica Livingston

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