Gas flaring, a practice used by oil companies during production, costs Nigeria around N320bn (two billion dollars), Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, a prominent environmentalist and member of the Committee on Environment at the National Conference recently stated.
Though economically flagrant, the practice is also environmentally criminal. Gas burned and flared into the air has a detrimental impact on public health and well-being. “This gas that is being flared in the oil fields equally impacts human health as it causes acid rain, cancer, breathing difficulties, skin and other diseases such as bronchitis and asthma and acid rain," Bassey states.
Further, the impacts on food and farming are significant, as the presence of heavy contaminants in the environment is deleterious to food production. “Communities have experienced a drop in agricultural yields when you get nearer to gas flaring fields," the delegate told the Conference. “You have to be as far away as at least one km to expect to have fair yields from your crop because some of this gas is being flared in communities.”
“We cannot continue to kill our people on the altar of cash; we need to have an environment where people will survive,” he continued. The Committee on Environment made extensive suggestions tailored to protecting Nigeria's environment from these kinds of pollutants, including banning gas flaring.