Below are some threats discovered by the Niger Delta Youth Association
Engr. Ibinabo Bob-Manuel is passionate about the environment of the Niger Delta. She is the current Chairlady of Niger Delta youth Association for United State chapter, and a Cyber Security Analyst, and currently a postgraduate research student on Cyber-Economics and Incentives. Her desire is to make the internet safe and the environment smart for everybody. According to her, as oil spills continue devastating the Niger Delta region, she lists four impacts of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta. The paper was presented during the Conference held in London on the 3rd of July 2016 by the President of the Niger Delta Youth Association Worldwide, Comrade Victor James, in collaboration with Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement, Ijaw Youth Congress and other groups in the region.
- Negative Impact On human Health
Air pollution (e.g. gas flaring and other toxic air pollutants) causes asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Many people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have died over the five (5) decades due to the effects of air pollution, and yet the region is without adequate health care facilities.
- Loss Of Biodiversity
Biodiversity helps to maintain the balance of the ecosystem by restoring soil nutrients, protecting water sources, and stabilising the climate. Since there is little or no biodiversity in the region, the waters have become undrinkable, and marine life is progressively getting extinct. This is one of the reasons why the Niger Delta is currently experiencing the impact of global warming, and climate change.
- Loss of Tourism Industry
The Niger Delta region used to be the hub of tourism in Nigeria until recently. The change is as a result of the deterioration of the environment. Consequently, the Niger Delta region has also lost valuable foreign exchange that could have accrued to the states from tourism.
- Economic Impact
The cost of cleaning up oil spillage, and stopping of gas flaring is usually high. In most cases, the clean-up period could exceed a decade, and it is very capital intensive. These have negative impacts on the economy of the Niger Delta.
Pollution, including noise pollution, brings about the degradation of the environment as a result of the activities of oil and gas companies. It is interesting to note that the Niger Delta region provides 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, and yet, the people live with severe ecological problems and suffer the impact of the degradation of their environment.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to suggest that the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the oil and gas exploration and production companies, as well as key stakeholders, particularly the host communities in the Niger Delta, should come together, and find a way forward on how these environmental risks should be mitigated, as well as provide a better lease of life for the people of the Niger Delta. Effective actions are also needed to provide appropriate environmental education to the local communities in order to help safeguard their environment for future generations.