- Effects of gas flaring includes, air pollution, water contamination, reduced agricultural productivity, sexual and reproductive health issues like impotency, infertility, and birth complications
According to Daily Post, women from the oil-producing communities of Ibeno and Esit Eket in Akwa Ibom State have voiced their concerns about the detrimental effects of gas flaring on their health, environment, and economy. Organized by Policy Alert in collaboration with Global Green Grant funds, a Town Hall meeting titled “Strategies to End Gas Flaring in Akwa Ibom” was held, gathering government officials and stakeholders.
During the meeting, prominent leaders like Lady Apostle Cecilia John Ikot, Essien Kokomma Eshiet, and Rhoda Peter represented the women, highlighting gas flaring’s serious threat to their livelihoods. They emphasized that gas flaring releases harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, worsening climate change impacts in their communities.
The adverse effects noted by the women included air pollution, water contamination, reduced agricultural productivity, and severe impacts on sexual and reproductive health, including cases of impotency, infertility, and birth complications.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the Nigerian government’s failure to meet previous gas flare-out targets, despite striving towards a 2030 deadline as a signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership, the women called for a review of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
They urged reinforcement of the environmental regulation roles of agencies like the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency (NOSDRA) and the Federal Ministry of Environment, whose roles were diminished by the Act. The women also emphasized the need for investment in a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
Acknowledging the severity of the flaring in Ibeno, the Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Uno Etim, represented by the Director of Mineral Resources, Mrs. Emem Imo Ibokette, encouraged community unity in the campaign against this issue. She assured the women of the State Ministry’s willingness to collaborate and offer necessary support to address their concerns.
Additionally, Mr. Tijah-Bolton Akpan, the Executive Director of Policy Alert, expressed regret that the issue of “end to gas flaring” is still prevalent in 2023. He described gas flaring as illegal and an unnecessary waste of valuable economic resources. Mr. Akpan highlighted the “Wethinwomengain” project initiated by Policy Alert, aimed at empowering women across oil and gas communities to advocate against gas flaring.