In the early 1990’s invading Iraqi revolutionary guards set fires to over 700 oilfields as they retreated from Kuwait. It took over a year, $1.5 billion and created immeasurable environmental havoc before the fires were finally extinguished. To a lesser extent, the same tactic was adopted by Libyan militants who set fires to oil pipelines during the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. That ‘scorched earth’ policy has since been adopted by militants in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta where attacks on oil pipeline assets have been going on since the mid-2000's. Nigerian government forces worsen the problem with aerial bombing of artisanal refineries. In 2018, Nigeria acquired helicopter gunships from the United States government for the continued execution of this policy.
Nigeria is a major oil-producing country with a population of close to 200,000,000 people. Less than 5% of its used motor oil is recycled due to the lack of recycling infrastructure and an unenforced waste oil policy. Consequently, Nigeria releases inordinate amounts of hydrocarbon pollutants into the atmosphere on an ongoing basis. The scale of Nigeria’s assault on the environment is unmatched anywhere in West Africa or the Caribbean.
The Iraqi war cost US taxpayers $1.6 trillion to execute. Former vice president Al Gore stated on the CNN Van Jones show, that 2017 losses from hurricanes alone amounted to $320 billion. Nigeria, like the US is situated in the northern hemisphere and pollutants resulting from its activities are borne by westerly winds to North America’s shores. Pollutants released in Nigeria disproportionately contribute to the elevation of the earth’s surface temperature.
In the northern hemisphere elevated temperatures deplete the ice shelf and raise ocean levels to the extent that parts of South Florida will be submerged in our lifetime. Warm surface and ocean temperatures accentuate wildfires, hurricanes, torrential rains and mudslides. Losses deriving for the most part from reckless environmental attitudes perpetrated in faraway Nigeria now exact an incalculable annual toll on the US economy. The US adheres to common sense practices to preserve our planet. It should require and persuade nations with errant environmental attitudes to follow suit. Green Earth NP is working in Nigeria with Marine Environmental Protection and Cleanup Foundation to curb environmental recklessness and needs your support.