I was just listening to a late night live podcast about the horror in Nigeria’s oil spills.
The wiki highlights more details on damage to mangroves and fisheries, but this will do for now.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation places the quantity of oil jettisoned into the environment yearly at 2,300 cubic meters with an average of 300 individual spills annually. However, because this amount does not take into account “minor” spills, the World Bank argues that the true quantity of oil spilled into the environment could be as much as ten times the officially claimed amount.. The largest individual spills include the blowout of a Texaco offshore station which in 1980 dumped an estimated 400,000 barrels 64,000 m3 of crude oil into the Gulf of Guinea and Shell’s Forcados Terminal tank failure which produced a spillage estimated at 580,000 barrels 92,000 m3. One source calculates that the total amount oil in barrels spilled between 1960 and 1997 is upwards of 100 million barrels 16,000,000 m3.Oil spillage has a major impact on the ecosystem into which it is released. Immense tracts of the mangrove forests, which are especially susceptible to oil mainly because it is stored in the soil and re-released annually during inundations, have been destroyed. An estimated 5 to 10% of Nigerian mangrove ecosystems have been wiped out either by settlement or oil. The rainforest which previously occupied some 7,400 km² of land has disappeared as well.Spills in populated areas often spread out over a wide area, destroying crops and aquacultures through contamination of the groundwater and soils. The consumption of dissolved oxygen by bacteria feeding on the spilled hydrocarbons also contributes to the death of fish. In agricultural communities, often a year’s supply of food can be destroyed instantaneously. Because of the careless nature of oil operations in the Delta, the environment is growing increasingly uninhabitable.