CEHRD calls for stoppage of gas flaring in the Niger Delta

The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) joins the world as it marks the world environment day, asking the federal  government of Nigeria to immediately stop gas flaring in the Niger Delta region.’ Michael Chidozie, Communication and Advocacy Officer of CEHRD said.

‘The theme of this year’s world environment day is: ‘Raise your voice, not the sea level’; emphasizing protection for small island developing states who are at the risk of being submerged by sea level rise due to climate change. 

It is estimated that if greenhouse gases emissions continue to rise through this century, polar ice will be thrown into unstoppable melting circle that will raise sea level by more than 7 meters.  CEHRD recalls with anxiety that, save for  the eastern flanks of the Niger Delta,  where it is 10-15m above sea level, most of the Delta is less than 6m above sea level. This implies that the predicted 7 m rise in sea level will submerge greater part of the Niger Delta.

CEHRD notes with sadness that in the face of increasing vulnerability of the Niger Delta to climate change driven flooding and submersion, gas flaring in the Niger Delta contributes significantly to global climate change. On a daily bases, Nigeria flares about 2.4 billion standard cubic feet of associated gas from oil fields in the Niger Delta, amounting to approximately 16 percent of global emissions.

CEHRD strongly condemns the increasing shrinkage of mangroves of the Niger Delta due mainly to crude oil spillages. Other causes of depletion of Niger Delta mangroves include land reclamation, uncontrollable dredging activities, unsustainable exploitation for fuel wood, etc. Mangroves of the Delta are the first line of defence of the coastal communities against ocean surges and storms. Thus, depletion of the Delta mangroves exacerbates the regions floods vulnerability.

The government should stop the conversion of swamp and wetlands for different developmental projects, as these ecosystems are the kidneys of the landscapes. They act as sinks for run-off waters, recharge ground water aquifers and control flooding, Chidozie warns.

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