In 2008, a Shell oil pipeline broke in a fishing village of the Niger Delta. For more than 8 years now the people of Bodo have been living in oil soaked soil that still hasn’t been cleaned up.
An environmental study was conducted by the government and other initiatives that found “astonishingly high” levels of pollution still remained, endangering the community and the enviornment. Kay Holtzmann, the former director of the cleanup project, was denied by Shell to publish the results of the study or to conduct health screenings.
Shell said the analysis didn’t reveal any information that hadn’t been previously established by a United Nations Environment Program report on pollution levels in Ogoniland, the part of the Niger Delta where Bodo is located.
Efforts to improve the situation in Bodo have been plagued by mistrust, local power struggles, and disputes over how money for the work would be distributed, according to Inemo Samiama, chairman of the Bodo Mediation Initiative. In late 2015, the camp where cleanup contractors were staying was attacked, effectively halting work until now, the people said. Daniel Leader, a lawyer who has represented the the Bodo community said, “We have been asking for health testing and to check the water supply now for many years and they have simply not done it.”
The problem here is that everyone is worried about who is going to pay for the cleanup instead of just cleaning it up. Meanwhile the health risks continue to increase every day for the people of Bodo. If Shell doesn’t allow simple tests to check the water and people soon, its only going to get worse. In incidents such as this, I don’t understand why companies delay efforts to clean up their messes. It may save them some money in the short run, but long term they are going to have millions of more dollars in costs if the water supply is tainted or if the people of Bodo start turning up dead from oil poisoning.