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Shell Throws The Blame To Residents on Slow Cleanup of Oil Spills In Nigeria

(Photo: John Li / Getty Images)

Regin Olimberio: Mar 28, 2017 07:10 PM EDT

Oil and petroleum giant Shell blamed the Nigerian residents in the Delta community for its slow response in cleaning up the two oil spill incidents in 2008. Amidst almost a decade-long effort, Shell wasn’t able to fully contain the spill. However, there is a possibility that the clean-up might start next month.

To recall, the Royal Dutch Shell admitted responsibility for two pipeline leaks that subsequently contaminated the Bodo community. Shell also agreed to a $68 million settlement after accepting the liability over the corroded pipelines in 2015. Since then, the oil spills haven’t yet been addressed.

Shell stressed that they have already laid out the plans right after the settlement and the oil spill should have been addressed in August of 2015. However, Bodo residents aired their dislike over an international contractor that Shell paid to push with the cleanup. Months have elapsed before Shell and the residents managed to achieve a compromise. Finally, both parties agreed to start the work in April, the Reuters reported.

According to Bodo Mediation Initiative chairman Inemo Samiama, they are hopeful that Shell will start the clean up based on the agreed date. Even the Dutch ambassador to Nigeria also helped to get a compromise. It is unclear though if the same contractor from which the tussle started will still be the one to do the clean-up works.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Environmental Programme has also stepped into the mediation process. The UNEP has tapped the Shell Petroleum Development Company to fast track the clean-up process. At any rate, the SPDC assured that they are not deaf ears over the problem and recognizes the immediacy of the solution.

According to VOA News, experts fear that there is a possibility of adverse effects to human health and Bodo community should get medical tests as soon as possible. Also, there was an environmental study that confirms a high presence of hydrocarbons on the Nigerian soil. Even after several years, traces of the 500,000 barrels of oil that seeped through the Bodo community are still visible.

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