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Dangerously high levels of oil contamination causes concern in Nigeria

High levels of hazardous pollution in Ogoniland, in southern Nigeria's Niger Delta, were found in a report conducted by the UN Environment Program (UNEP), proving that claims by locals of environmental problems and health issues may hold true, IRIN reports.

Many of the claims were made as a result of over 50 years of oil operations in the area. The report found that oil spills in the area happen with "alarming regularity" with residents being exposed to the harmful toxins in the water, air and soil. At least 28 wells in 10 communities were contaminated, and in one community, Nisikioken Ogale, citizens were drinking from wells that had 900 times the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend levels of the dangerous benzene, the news outlet reports.

"Our source of drinking water is the well," a man named Nebachi told the news outlet. "By the time we fetch water from the well, we see oil on it and that is what we drink. We breathe the polluted air. In fact as I am talking with you now, I have chest pain… Everybody in my house is sick."

After reading the alarming findings, humanitarian groups are working with the Nigerian government to combat the growing problem.
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