Fires that Burn Dollars – By Ayeni Faith Damilola


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Somewhere in Ebeide, the absolute darkness of the night is a thing of the novels; all thanks to a strange fire, 30m tall, that keeps the twilight almost completely out. About 78 units of these hot flames could be found across the Niger Delta, and in them, a billion dollars is burnt every single year.

A blowback of oil dealings, Gas Flaring is an economic and, notably, environmental toughie in Nigeria. It was outlawed in the 80s, but has refused to escape our crest, even some 30yrs after. Whenever Crude Oil is being extracted, some gases are released hand-in-hand. These gases, to oil companies, are mere wastes; hence, they are painlessly burnt into the atmosphere.

But, this simple disposal is the mother of all disasters as every cubic metre of Natural Gas flared adds about 2.5kg of the most prominent greenhouse gas to the Earth’s atmosphere.This, to the well informed, calls for grief and tears. Greenhouse gases are the root causes of the much dreaded Climate Change.

This births floods, rainstorms, hurricanes, wildfires and other extreme weather conditions that often leave us with a harvest of corpses and property ruins. Besides, Gas Flaring brings about a number of health issues, especially to those living in close proximities to flaring sites. These villagers battle respiratory conditions, eyes conditions, and skin cancer among others.

Moreover, the noise from these flames is deafening, and as if that’s not enough, gases from flaring sites poison waters and aquatics, kills and/or set animals on the run, and destroy crop fields.That way, the economy of a people is completely wrecked. Just so you know,  the Natural Gas being flared on a daily basis, if trapped and commercialised, can generate for Nigeria a billion dollars every year.

A country that boasts of close to a hundred million people living on less than one dollar per day cannot justify such yearly loss in billions. Away from that, only about 12.5 percent of Nigeria’s population has access to stable electricity; yet, we flare, every year, a quantity of natural gas that can generate 3000MW of electricity on conversion. Thus, depriving millions of homes what they could have got on a platter of gold.

In a nutshell, the health, economic and, most especially, environmental effects of Gas Flaring are too much for Nigeria(ns), and a serious government will treat it as a matter of emergency. Say no to Gas Flaring in Nigeria. Let’s put out the fires that burn dollars!

Ayeni Faith Damilola writes for Green Global Environmental Network (GGEN)
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