The hidden oil spill tragedy

As many as 546 million gallons of oil spilled into the Niger Delta over the last five decades, or nearly 11 million gallons a year, experts said.

Imagine BP’s Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil disaster happening every single year, with little or no public outcry, no media coverage, and all but silence from government and the companies involved. Welcome to Nigeria.

Over the last 50 years, foreign oil companies have spilled over 1.5 million tons of oil here, but there have been no legal convictions against them, and no compensation for spill victims. The Niger Delta is now one of the most polluted places in the world. For a detailed analysis of the situation read John Vidal’s excellent article from the Guardian.

With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta  supplies 40% of all the crude the US imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy is little more than 40 years.

  • From the syllabus to ToK to the Learner profile, I feel this issue is worthy of discussion in any classroom.
  • From the widespread pollution, to the environmental devastation, to the practically non-existent  media coverage…
  • Why does this have such a low profile while the one in the Gulf of Mexico is known around the world?
  • Why is President Obama having such a high profile meeting with BP representatives but not Royal Dutch Shell?

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