By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website
Waste of resources
In November, the Nigerian Federal Court, sitting in
Benin City, ruled on a case brought by environmental and social groups
on behalf of the Iwherekan community of Delta State.
They argued that flaring creates significant local
pollution and health problems, and is inherently wasteful of a resource
which could bring income to local communities.
Shell’s operations have been hampered by a recent explosion
International environmental groups also argue it is a
significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, with flaring in Nigeria
perhaps the biggest source of emissions in Africa.
The Benin court ruled that gas flaring amounts to “…a
gross violation of [the plaintiffs’] fundamental right to human life
and dignity…”, and that Shell and the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation had broken national law by failing to carry out an
environmental impact assessment.
By failing to stop flaring, as ordered by the court,
campaigners now argue Shell is in contempt, and have initiated
proceedings in the Federal Court.