The people of Tombia and Gbarantoru in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa have expressed concern over air pollution affecting the area, saying it has potential serious health hazards.
The paramount ruler of the community, Christian Otobotekere, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Tombia on Sunday that his subjects were so frightened and some of them were having respiratory difficulties.
The monarch said that the people believed that the pollution resulted from the Gbarantoru Gas Plant in the area which is owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
“We have reported the pollution of the air here in the past few days, leading to respiratory complications and we have noticed several birds drop from the air and die.
“We do suspect that it might be from the gas plant at Gbarantoru; so we want the relevant authorities to investigate it.
“A lot of strange things happen along the Taylor Creek. Even the water is also polluted such that fishermen near the plant have witnessed dwindling catch.
“Our fear is that the toxicity level here is higher than the tolerance limit and we do hope that the test is carried out soon,” Mr. Otobotekere said.
Reacting to the development, the SPDC Media Relations Manager, Precious Okolobo, said the pollution was not from its gas processing and gathering facility.
“There is no air pollution from our Gbarantoru gas plant. The plant is running efficiently. A similar thing was reported in Port Harcourt where we do not have a gas plant.
“This is a general problem that people do not understand. People have no right to blame SPDC for everything that goes wrong,” Mr. Okolobo said.