2017 Crook Fellow Amara Uyanna is interning with Sustainability International this summer in Nigeria, and updates us here on the environmental conditions of the Niger Delta region, where among other responsibilities she is coordinating bioremediation efforts in the area.
"For over five decades, the Niger Delta has been the oil hub of Nigeria, the eighth largest oil producing country. The region is home to millions, and the total land area of the region is approximately 70,000 sq km i.e. the sum of the land areas of Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut. Before the discovery of crude oil in the region, fishing and farming were the occupations most prevalent among the locals. The region is comprised of abundant mangrove forests and is sometimes referred to as a global biodiversity hotspot.
"Unfortunately, the discovery of oil combined with weak environmental policies, government incompetence and inefficient exploration practices led to decades of environmental pollution through oil spills, illegal oil bunkering and gas flaring. The pollution has affected everything from groundwater to topsoil to the daily lives of the people. Some of the accompanying effects on the public health, socioeconomic status and general development of the region have been devastating."
Uyanna's travel is supported by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law.
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About the Crook Fellowship
As part of the William H. Crook Program in International Affairs, funded by the Eleanor Crook Foundation, Crook Fellows receive grants to support summer internships with organizations doing work in developing countries. For more information, visit https://www.strausscenter.org/crookprogram.