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New Oil Spill Threatens Environment, Communities in Yemen

New Oil Spill Threatens Environment, Communities in Yemen

Tuesday, 22 December, 2020 - 09:30
A picture of an oil spill in one of the pipelines under study in Shabwa governorate, Yemen, Asharq Al-Awsat

A new Yemeni study has raised the alarm on the southern Shabwa governorate facing the threat of environmental catastrophe brought about by oil leaks hemorrhaging from rundown production and export pipelines.

Prepared by a Romania-based consultancy, the study urged the government and local authorities to take the findings seriously and commit operating companies to fixing leaks.

It also called for enforcing speedy and proactive measures to avert any repercussions the oil spills can have on locals and agriculture before it is too late.

Oil pumped into the dilapidated pipeline in Sector No. 4 extending from Ayyad to Al-Nashima Port on the Arabian Sea needs to stop given the scale of environmental pollution taking place, the study recommended.

According to Abdulminaim Habtoor, a Yemeni academic who took part in preparing the study, silence shrouds the suffering of locals in Shabwa, where some are taking advantage of the leak to plunder oil.

“We conducted a detailed study on the effects of oil pollution resulting from oil spills along the production network of pipelines in Yemen, in particular in the pipeline that was established in 1987. Multiple samples were taken from oil spills along the pipeline,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Habtoor confirmed that staggering levels of pollution were recorded in groundwater deposits. This gravely affects locals, livestock and agricultural crops.

The study’s recommendations urged swift maintenance and contracting specialized companies to tackle present pollution

Yemen is also facing the threat of another oil spill taking place at the derelict oil tanker FSO Safer, which is held by Iran-backed Houthi militias and anchored off the Ras Issa oil port in the Red Sea since 2015.

The ship contains about 1.1 million crude oil barrels and has gone years without any maintenance being performed. A leak at FSO Safer spells disaster for marine life in the Red Sea.

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