Concern over oil pollution in South Sudan

Tuesday July 03 2018

An oil field in South Sudan. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The residents of South Sudan oil-rich north want the government to address the rise in pollution of their water sources.

Dr James Okuk said on behalf of the residents that the Juba authorities were sacrificing the rights of the citizens at the altar of the oil gains.

The environmental contamination, Dr Okuk said, was a serious violation of the human rights of the people living around the oilfields by both the government of South Sudan and the companies extracting the oil.

“If pollution is displacing people and causing suffering, then it is a human rights violation for which both the government and companies bear responsibility,” he said on phone from Juba.

Need support

“The communities affected by the pollution desperately need support, but the authorities were silent on their demands,” he said.


Mr Nyuot Gatwich, from Bentiu town testified that the contamination had caused a myriad illnesses among the people.

He claimed that some women had experienced pregnancy complications, with some giving birth to deformed babies.

“People are suffering in Thar Jath. The President of South Sudan should come and see how people are living,” said Mr Gatwich, 24.

Their animals

A German lobby group, Sign of Hope, last April released a report on oil pollution in South Sudan; saying more than 600,000 people were at a high risk of painful early and horrible deaths in the oil-producing areas.

The report said dangerous substances such as barium and lead had leaked into the water sources for people and animals living in and around Thar Jath.

Mr Bior Bior of the Institute for Environmental Health corroborated the findings.

“Human beings and animals continue to drink from the contaminated water sources. It is evident that people and their animals that are exposed to these contaminations are made risk,” Mr Bior Bior of the Institute for Environmental Health said.