Expert Recommends Study Into Alleged Air Pollution In Tombia
An environment expert, Mr Morris Alagoa, has called for the conduct of studies to measure the adverse impact of a gas plant located in Gbarantoru.
The environmentalist made the call on Thursday at Tombia town, shortly after an assessment tour of the area in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.
Residents of the area have been complaining of air pollution, allegedly emanating from the oil and gas facilities located near the community.
Mr Alagoa, who was reacting to the claim which was said to have resulted into breathing discomforts by residents, called for scientific studies to trace the source of the pollution.
He urged the oil and gas industry regulators to monitor and ensure that the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were carried out and complied with.
According to Morris, the EIA Act required periodic studies to determine the adverse environmental implications of the project and ascertain when the indices were out of tolerable limits.
“Who monitors compliance with the EIA compliance to ensure that the steps prescribed to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the operations of the plant were ameliorated?
“We have got reports of air pollution, very high temperature caused by gas flare (and) poor fish catch from the Nun River amongst others. There is a need for studies by scientific experts to compare results with the baseline studies in the EIA report.
“The results of these studies will then form the basis to request for measures to ameliorate the impact of the operations (while) the local and state governments should step up action in the interest of the health of residents in the area.
“But the questions is, do they even have the EIA report which is supposed to be a pubic document? The communities are losing on all fronts as they only bear the adverse effects of oil and gas operations while the benefits in form of social amenities elude them,” Alagoa said.
The expert further noted that gas flare in the area and resultant acid rain make rain water unsafe for drinking, regretting that communities surrounding the plant lack access to potable water.
The spokesman for Shell, Mr Precious Okolobo, had earlier denied that the air pollution was from the company’s gas processing and gathering facility.
Mr Okolobo said “there is no air pollution from our Gbarantoru plant; the plant is running efficiently”.