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Sunday, December 10, 2023

South Sudan to UNEA-3: Help us end oil pollution of water

The government of South Sudan – represented at the ongoing 3rd UN Environment Assembly by its Ministry of Environment – has taken up a campaign by a German civil society group for a clean-up of oil pollution of the country’s water.

South Sudan water
A South Sudanese boy drinking polluted water

Spearheaded by Sign of Hope, the plea was made by Joseph Bartel, the Permanent Secretary at the Environment Ministry, who lamented that the country is facing an environmental disaster caused by oil pollution.

“Help us clean up this oil-caused environmental disaster,” Bartel pleaded.

Klaus Stieglitz, human rights expert and Deputy Chairperson of Sign of Hope, the Germany-based NGO, said: “For the last nine years, Sign of Hope and the scientists with whom it works have been persistently alerting the world to this enormous and growing crime against human rights and the environment. The government of South Sudan and its corporate allies have repeatedly denied the existence of this ravaging of people’s lives and livelihoods.

“That is why we especially welcome the government’s admission of there being a problem. We now look forward to the great clean-up. The first step: a full-scale investigation of South Sudan’s oil fields’ environments and environs.

“Ringing words now have to be followed by actions capable of helping the 180,000 victims of oil-caused water pollution. It is time to put an end to this human-made crisis.”

The UN Environment Assembly, the world’s foremost decision-making body in environmental matters, is being held in Nairobi. It has “#BeatPollution” as its slogan.

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