JUBA – South Sudan government has ordered an immediate environmental audit in oil-producing regions in a bid to curb pollution and address public uproar over poor wastes management.
The move came a week after residents of Melut County of the oil-rich Upper Nile state protested over environmental pollution which has engulfed northern parts of the state as results of oil exploration leading to a high rate of children being born incomplete.
Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting in Juba on Friday, Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said that the cabinet has directed the minister of petroleum to immediately conduct an environmental audit in order to reduce the pollution after years of negligence and lack of concern.
“As for the environmental audit, this is one of the major problems that is facing us in the oil sector and the government approved that environmental audit should be conducted immediately so that we find out or know who is responsible for this environmental degradation,” Makuei told reporters in Juba.
Lueth further explained that undertaking an environmental audit will help control oil pollution which has led to children being born with deformities in oil-producing regions.
“The environment in oil areas is very bad. There are a lot of things that are happening over there and this is due to a lack of action to protect the civil population in oil-producing areas,” he said.
“The report by the minister of petroleum was approved and the Minister was directed to act accordingly and implement all that he has done,” the minister said.
Oil pollution has been escalating in recent years in South Sudan’s oil-producing states.
Children have been born with deformities in Unity state, Ruweng administrative area and Upper Nile state.
The government on several occasions warned oil companies against reckless exploration of oil and has promised improved oil production that put the health of the citizens at risk.