Why Oil and Mangroves do not Mix!

Why Oil and Mangroves do not Mix!

Niger-Delta-oil-spillsThe demand for crude oil to propel our Industrial Revolution comes with a high, externalized cost which few consumers realize or think about, yet which we all must pay for in the end.
In this mad rush for globalization and free trade, the immense problems created by oil exploitation are made clearer and are in urgent need of our immediate attention.
Niger Delta wetlands ruined by oil spills
Why Oil and Mangroves do not Mix!

Mangrove forests are adversely affected by oil pollution and related developments. Oil spills are a serious concern in regards to the health of our planet’s remaining mangrove forests.

Leaked oil permeates the coastal waters and streams, coating the exposed, air breathing roots of the mangroves. It is difficult, if not impossible, for the plants’ breathing lenticels to perform their essential functions, thus in effect slowly suffocating the mangroves.

Massive mangrove die-offs are a common phenomena plaguing the mangrove regions where coastal oil exploitation occurs.

Because oil spills often occur in remote regions, these frequent accidents may go undetected for long periods, and are consequently very difficult to clean up in an effective and timely manner.

The harmful effects of such spillages are long-term and the affected mangrove forests are being rapidly degraded by the carelessness of the petroleum industry.

Throughout mangrove areas, petroleum and natural gas extraction has been carried out with careless abandon by multi-national oil interests, violating both human rights and all ecological principles in their heedless quest for greater profits.

Environmental & Social Standards Needed

MAP joins other concerned voices in calling for an international forum or commission to be established that will set strict environmental and social standards for these kinds of multi-national resource extraction operations, and begin the important job of monitoring and regulating these operations.

We are asking for tough restrictions on modes of operations and tough sanctions against violators.

An international body to carry out such standards setting and enforcement might operate under the auspices of the United Nations (perhaps a UN “environmental rights commission”), but it should be a transparent body fully accountable and non-aligned with corporate or political interests, and should include means for fair representation from the varied interest groups, such as academics, NGOs, local government officials, and local community leaders.

Your further thoughts and advice on this draft recommendation are appreciated.

Oil Exploitation Leading to Loss in Niger Delta
Niger Delta has been the sight of extreme environmental destruction and human rights abuses related to oil exploitation.

A region once rich in natural resources, including extensive mangrove forests and associated rich coastal fisheries, it has experienced over 40 years of ruthless military rule and reckless industrial development.

Local communities, however, have not been quelled, nor kept from resisting. Today, the devastating activities of oil companies such as Shell, Texaco, Mobil, Chevron, Agip, Elf, and NAOC, which are supported by Nigerian military and mobile police, are being courageously opposed by local communities. Popular and effective protests, including non-violent occupations of oil platforms, have not merely cut oil production, but instead brought needed light to the destructive practices of exploitation and abuses seemingly inherent in the industry’s operations in the Delta.

MAP visits the Niger Delta