Gas Flaring Flaring of gas is another environmental challenge experienced in the Niger Delta area. Gas has been flared in Nigeria’s Niger Delta since the beginning of exploitation and exploration of crude oil in the 1950s. Nigeria even with the challenges of energy insecurity and legislative frameworks to combat the dangers of gas flaring still suffers multiple environmental and health issues due to the continuous release of CO2 and other poisonous gasses into the atmosphere It has been recorded that Nigeria flares about 40% natural gas while more than 10% is been re-injected to enhance the recovery of oil 16. The estimated quantity of natural gas flared in Niger Delta is about 17.2 billion m3 per year, this volume is approximately equivalent to a quarter of the current power consumption need of the whole of Africa 1.
This ruinous practice by oil and gas companies operating in the region has diffused highly toxic gasses into the atmosphere in Niger Delta. The concentration of these toxicants have caused acid rain, which has resulted to loss of soil fertility, destruction of vegetation and devastation of buildings by corrugation of roofs. The indigenous people of the area have also suffered numerous adverse health challenges. Cases of reproductive deformities in children, cancer, neurological, reproductive and skin infections have been reported 18.
Ecosystem survival In the ecosystem, all constituent parts are crucial in order to survive. The inhabitants are an integral part of the Niger Delta’s wider ecosystem. As such, they are affected by the dangerous and sometimes catastrophic impacts of oil exploration and exploitation activities. The people of Niger Delta are adversely affected by oil spills since they occur at a particular place and extend over a wide area. It is on record that, indigenous communities were relocated due to the oil spill; resulting to loss of ancestral home, farmlands, fishing areas and other means of their livelihoods which directly and indirectly rely on the ecosystem. The indigenous people of the Delta have incurred colossal losses as a result of these spills. Moreover, persistent pollution has exposed the native population to a new set of illnesses to compound those they were susceptible due to their extremely poor living conditions. A study conducted between 2000 and 2005 showed a decline in water bodies, mangroves and close forests and with an increase in bare land, settlements and mixed, man-made forests 21.