Ijaw Community Raises Alarm Over Poisonous Air Pollution from Shell Gas Facility
By Amos Okioma
LAGOS DECEMBER 26TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Residents and indigenes of Tombia Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa have raised the alarm over suspected poisonous air pollution allegedly emanating from oil and gas facilities located near the community.
They decried poor air quality in communities surrounding the Gbarantoru gas plant.
It will be recalled that a thick soothe was reported to be hanging in the atmosphere in Port Harcourt earlier in the month.
Mr Seigha Akoko, Community Development Committee Chairman of Tombia said that the development had adversely affected respiratory functions of residents in the past few days.
He said the subjects had reported the pollution of air in the areas surrounding the gas facility operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to the leadership of the communities.
“Our people and subjects have reported the pollution of the air around us here in the past few days, leading to respiratory complications and we have noticed several birds dropped from the air and died.
“The Paramount Ruler has summoned his cabinet and other levels of Community Leadership and the issue of worsening air quality was exhaustively discussed.
“We do suspect that it might be from the gas plant around us at Gbarantoru so we want the relevant government agencies to investigate and come up with results, apart from the air pollution, effluents from the facility has made the water toxic and wiped out the fish stock.
“A lot of strange things happen along the Taylor creek, the waters no longer supply fish as used to be the case before the gas plant started operations.
“We want air quality tests to be conducted while those having respiratory difficulties should be studies to trace the source; the problem is that we do not have access to most of the tests conducted in the past.
“Our fear is that the toxicity levels here is higher than the tolerance limits and we do hope that the studies are conducted fast,” Akoko said.
Urhobo today . com Correspondent who visited the community on Friday reports that some residents in the area attributed respiratory difficulties they faced to the suspected air pollution.
“I have been noticing difficulties with breathing and feel pains in my lungs for the past three days, and some other people have complained of the same sympthoms I am going to seek medical attention after the holidays,” A Tombia resident said on Friday.
Mr Precious Okolobo, Media Relations Manager at SPDC denied that the air pollution was not from its gas processing and gathering faculty.
“There is not air pollution from our Gbarantoru, the plant is running efficiently, moreover a similar thing was reported in Port Harcourt where we do not have a gas plant.
“There is a general problem that people do not understand and people have no right to blame SPDC for everything that goes wrong,”. Okolobo said.