Safe water for Niger Delta: An advocacy from the Clean Water Advocacy Group



The Niger Delta is located in the southern region of Nigeria and consists of nine states. The problem of potable water in the Niger Delta largely stems from lack of infrastructure in water treatment and distribution, but is further complicated by multiple oil spills contaminating local bodies of water.  Several significant public health implications result from the lack of potable water including morbidity and mortality from water-borne illness and from malnutrition.

Key determinant involving in this problem is oil contamination. A large number of oil spills with an estimate of 1.5 million tons over a period of 50 years resulting in oil contaminated water which is dangerous for use. The primary stakeholders of this problem involved various arms including the Nigerian Federal and State Government, local media, oil corporations, and  organization such as United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

We propose a policy to create accountability for the oil corporations to prevent oil contamination to water in this region.  We suggest drafting and passing the bill that will mandate the oil companies to be financially responsible for the engineering and infrastructure costs of building and maintaining the facility to improve oil contamination. The government needs to regulate and implement the strategy. We also support the use of media to direct this message to the people of Niger Delta.

We are relying on the those stakeholders to come together and ensure the proposed policy takes hold.  It is a step toward restoring health and well being to the people of the Niger Delta region.





3 Responses to “Safe water for Niger Delta: An advocacy from the Clean Water Advocacy Group”

  1. sbfphc Says:

    There is a great irony of living in a riverine area and not being able to drink the water. Traditionally such rural areas have been plagued with transmission of feco-oral and diarrhoeal diseases. Simple community or home base purification might take care of these pathogens. The additional pollution from oil drilling, transport and production is beyond the control of an individual or family. Unlike the more immediate effects of drinking germ-infested water and getting diarrhoea, the effects of oil-polluted water is longer term and can manifest in various forms of cancer later in life. Clearly this is an important policy issue.

  2. meredithsarah22 Says:

    This certainly seems like the kind of public health issue that could benefit from social media and using communication as a primary means of change. I feel like large environmental issues like this that affect so many populations can garner a huge impetus for change from public attention and outcry. I realize there are many stakeholders and the oil companies do not budge easily. But enough social pressure both locally and internationally might help tip that scale.

  3. jodeleonmph Says:

    I think this is a great policy issue to support. In most developing countries, the main concern (as the faculty suggested) is the control of transmission of feco-oral and diarrhoeal diseases. Whenever I go home to visit the Philippines, my family and I always make sure to not drink tap water specifically because of those reasons. However, in an isolated place such as the Niger delta, one does not generally think of oil contamination as being the main contributor to unsafe drinking water. I think if a policy were drafted to impose significant financial implications to oil companies for contamination, large scale changes could be made fairly expeditiously. Oil companies will be required to take responsibility for protection of their surrounding environment. Further, any revenue created from this financial responsibility could be directly funneled towards improvements in potable water drinking systems.

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