One of the more destructive things that can greatly devastate any ecosystem is an oil spill. We don’t have to look too far at just how devastating oil spills can be. The Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Gulf Coast oil spill can serve as simple reminders at just how some of mankind’s activities can disrupt not just animal life, but human life, as well.
About two weeks ago, you may or may not have heard about an oil spill that was leaking thousands of gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. If the information contained in the article from which I was reading is true, then it should be shocking to most of us that we don’t know about all these oil yearly oil spills–18 per day according to the article.
Oil doesn’t discriminate though. The Niger Delta joins the Yellowstone River as bodies of water where oil has affected the lives in the surrounding area.
Oil spills, waste dumping and gas flaring are everywhere in the Niger Delta. The pollution that results damages the soil, air and water, gravely impacting the rights to health, food, water and livelihood for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians. The failure of oil companies to deal with these problems swiftly and the lack of effective cleanup has caused a human rights and environmental disaster.
We shouldn’t be surprised that oil companies continue to engage in this reckless behavior in order to generate profits–that’s the very nature and definition of capitalism. But that should not excuse oil companies from engaging in safer business practices.