Ensure best practices in cleaning spill site –NGO urges SPDC

An NGO,  Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has urged Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to ensure best practices in cleaning spill site in Rivers.

The organisation made the called in a report signed by Alagoa Morris, its Head of Field Operations issued to newsmen on Tuesday in Yenagoa.

Morris alleged that SPDC abandoned recovery of spilled crude oil site in impacted environment located Edagberi/Betterland community in Ahoada-West LGA of Rivers.

He said that the site was abandoned two years ago; but SPDC returned to site in April to resume cleaning.

He said the oil leak occurred in July 2015 from Shell’s Adibawa Well 8 facility, adding that it polluted the ecosystem and destroyed flora and fauna.

Morris called on the oil company to ensure compliance with international best practices to restore the polluted site to its natural state.

He urged the company to ensure adequate supervision of the cleanup.

He said that abandoning the site for two years had caused the spilled crude to sink deeper into the soil, adding that turning the top soil had not removed the crude oil which had sunk into the soil.

“The volume of crude oil gushing from the Wellhead was high and it took Shell about four days to stop the spill,” Morris said.

He called on regulatory agencies like the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Rivers State Ministry of Environment to follow up with inspection.

He said that sample should be tested to ascertain the state of the environment and recommend appropriate measures for cleaning.

He said that the people of the community accused Shell of setting the impacted area ablaze, an allegation the company’s spokesman Joseph Obari denied.

Ambrose Osuolo, Secretary of Edagberi/Betterland Community Development Committee (CDC) confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria that Shell had returned to site.

“After burning the impacted site, we expected Shell to come and continue work on the site but we did not see anything until recently.

“They worked for only two weeks and when rain started, the contractor rushed out from site with his equipment telling his workers he has finished his job,” Osuolo said.

Obari however declined to comment on the clean-up going on at the spill site.

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