Toxic floods: Environmental risks around oil infrastructure put South Sudan on edge

Throughout floods, crude oil, wastewater and chemical substances pose acute and long-term dangers to the native setting

People harvest water lilies in South Sudan's flood-prone Unity State. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua Folks harvest water lilies in South Sudan’s flood-prone Unity State. Photograph: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

A latest report has flagged environmental dangers related to extreme flooding close to South Sudan’s nationwide oil infrastructure. Oil infrastructure within the nation lacks ample safety and infrequently correct upkeep. Unprecedented and extended floods have been inundating giant swathes of the nation, displacing lots of of hundreds of individuals.

Poorly managed oil installations coupled with excessive climate occasions have been worsening the nation’s environmental well being, famous the report titled Toxic Floods? Climate, Natural Hazards and Risks to South Sudan’s Oil Infrastructure.

Additionally learn: South Sudan’s oil and water give it bargaining power — but will it benefit the people?

Throughout floods, crude oil, wastewater and chemical substances pose acute and long-term dangers to the native setting, relying on the quantity, publicity kind and impacted space, stated the doc launched by non-profit PAX on Could 23, 2023. Direct publicity to those chemical substances can pose acute well being dangers to individuals. Crude oil and wastewater can have an effect on ingesting water sources of communities, livestock and soil if not cleaned up and remediated correctly.

Researchers used satellite tv for pc photos and a hydrological mannequin to determine how the growing seasonal floods close to oil fields can pose further environmental well being dangers to lives and their livelihoods. They outlined the potential flood plains within the two main oil blocks in Unity State and Higher Nile; each have distinctive ecosystems, such because the Sudd wetland, one of many world’s largest wetlands. Moreover, most oil blocks in South Sudan are situated close to rivers and floodplains.

The researchers mapped all of the oil extraction factors and the areas that had been flooded between 2021 and 2022. Of the 486 oil extraction factors in Unity State, flood water overflowed 233 wells. Although many of the oil extraction factors didn’t appear to be energetic through the evaluation, there stay dangers of oil air pollution from oil waste pits, unsafe storage of hazardous chemical substances and dangers of injury to grease pipelines.

Oil manufacturing within the nation has plunged to 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 160,000 bpd in 2022 as a consequence of heavy flooding within the northern oil fields, South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang Chol stated in a discussion board.

The findings of the report underscore the necessity for the federal government and worldwide oil firms to handle these challenges. This evaluation can be utilized to develop an early warning system for the oil blocks and to design protecting measures for the oil installations in danger.

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