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by Ed Kashi
from “Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta” Book

The waters of the delta, Africa’s second largest watershed, are widely spoiled due to the oil industry and related industrial activities. This has reduced the fisheries from a net exporting business to a barely subsistence activity for the locals. The Niger Deltans must now eat frozen fish from outside the delta, which would have been unheard of in previous generations. Farming has also been reduced dramatically from pre-oil years, and it is also now a subsistence industry. This has disrupted the lineage of fisherman and farmers, and young men who could once proudly follow in their ancestor’s footsteps for work are today left with no jobs, searching in vain for other ways to make a living. Where they once thrived off the lands and waters of the Delta, they must now look for others ways to survive”.

Ed Kashi

“The impact of oil on the landscape of the Niger Delta is deceptive. At first glance, things appear normal and except for the occasional pipeline or signage signaling the presence of the oil works, there doesn’t appear to be much disruption to the natural environment. But take a closer look, which is what I was there to do, and you begin to see the dramatic impact of oil on the landscape. Whether from the hundreds of miles of crisscrossing pipelines, both above and below ground, or the dramatic flaring from the flow stations, refineries and LNG plants, once you begin to pick up on these things then it’s all you see. Then go on the waters of the delta and you see the muck, rainbow colors of oil leakage and the lack of fish, and you realize the full extent of the impact of oil. There is a kind of Dante’s Inferno quality to parts of the Delta. The oil companies have done a good job of taking care of their compounds and facilities, providing constant water, electricity, satellite TV and internet for their workers, but just outside their barbed wire compounds the situation becomes grim”.

– Ed Kashi


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