By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”AÂ high degree of underground water pollution has been detected in Ekerekana community, Okrika local government council area of Rivers State, following scientific findings by the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
The president of the Institute for the Environment, Onwusameka Ogbowuokara, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt after his trip from Sweden, said the findings were occasioned by agitation by the community over the presence of large quantity of hydrocarbon in their streams.
He said the implication of underground water pollution was the destruction of certain micro-organisms that aid plant life, adding that â€œit would adversely affect agriculture, which is the source of livelihood of the people in the area.â€
Ogbowuokara explained that the Institute collected samples from boreholes and streams in the area to the laboratories in Sweden for analysis and discovered high underground water pollution which has spread to a certain radius from Okrika to Eleme up to Woji area in Eleme and Obio- Akpor local government areas.
On the source of the pollution, he said available information showed that Port Harcourt Refinery does not know the source of the leakage.
The environmentalist said it was regrettable that there were not enough â€œenvironmental impact assessments by companies and industries in the region, stressing that the government should look into the situation and change the tide for the sake of the people and the environment.
He stated that “the University of Gothenburg will use superior equipment to trace the source of the pollution,â€ pointing out that the problem was not insurmountable.
He added that the concentration points to the possibility that the source could be from Port Harcourt Refinery.
Ogbuwuokara disclosed that plans were on to involve international environmental activists, such as Green Peace, in the fight against environmental pollution in the Niger Delta and appealed to Niger Deltans to use intellectual means to fight their neglect and deprivation instead of resorting to the use of arms.
He stressed that international opinion was in support of communities whose environments were recklessly violated.