|The Niger River Delta spans the coast of Nigeria from the Benin River in the west to the Imo over 150 species of fish, West African manatees, hippopotamuses, spot-necked swamp otters, and rare pygmy hippos.|
Since the discovery of oil in the delta in the 1950s, the promise of improved lives through a share of the oil wealth has eluded area residents. Instead, they have found their traditional livelihoods increasingly undermined by environmental degradation.
The 1984 image shows the delta 20 years after oil operations began in the early 1960s. The 2003 image shows concentrations of oil wells (small yellow arrows) as well as pipelines connecting them. Also visible are a large storage facility, liquefied natural gas plant and terminal station on Bonny Island in the lower right corner of the image (large yellow arrow).
Currently, about 66 gas fields and over 500 oil wells are located in the delta area. Between 1976 and 1996 there were more than 4 640 oil spills totaling three million barrels of oil. In addition, between 70 and 90 per cent of the natural gas from these oil fields is flared (burned as waste), releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing local air pollution and acid rain, and wasting roughly US$300 million per day worth of energy.
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