By Dr. Sunday de John, Nairobi, Kenya
In the wake of October 30, 2015, I happened to be a guest of honour in a function organised by Parieng and Panaruu communities of Ruweng State.
The function was marking the concurrent launching of an Organisation formed by youth in response to emerging trends enforced by oil production in the area. The organization has brilliant objectives that if well implemented shall produce positive results nationwide.
The organisation so formed is called Inspired Panaruu Youth for Development and the core principles with which its pillars are centered aim at enhancing environment protection as a local initiative after realizing the adverse and deleterious effects enforced by the remains or byproducts of oil being produced in many areas including the territories of Parieng and Abiemnom.
It is a big progress instituted by the inspired youth of that great territory. Environmental hazards generated by oil production are deleterious indeed as they can devise massive disastrous consequences.
The idea of establishing such a great organisation is commendable and it is with elation that I am composing this piece in solidarity with people of Ruweng State. My elation is vested in their quest to self-motive, identify the needs of their people and advance the cause.
Like most part of South Sudan, the services in the former Unity state are dismal. There are no health services, education is wantingly non-progressive, environment protection has never been a priority and the people at sake remain like usual as common men and women, the sole inhabitants of the territory.
It is however, a good gesture for youth of the area to come up with such an amazing idea. They deserve a thumb up. As if that was enough, it is inevitable to acknowledge that environment protection is a big fight.
For it to be viably and tangibly seen prospering, lots of sacrifices must be instituted and like usual, charity begins at home and so sons and daughters of the aforementioned areas ought to strengthen the organisation in all pillars of its existence, from good leadership, technical know-how and more importantly on financial sphere.
Without liquidity, the organisation will always remain as a briefcase entity with no productivity especially when more adovcacy and services to keep environmental hazards away are desirous. Such an organisation needs to be strengthened to withstand the strains and stresses that shall be enforced by circumstances.
Inevitably and invariably such great local initiatives require backing by the indigenous people of the area wholeheartedly. In addition, local and national governments have to do something to render the environment safe for habitation.
The advent of oil production has cognizantly concurred with principles of rewards and compensation to those at stake as a result of oil production and as mentioned, it is obvious that oil producing states have 2% allocation of oil shares basing on South Sudanese laws but it is negligible that 2% of oil shares have benefited the areas under former Unity state with Taban Deng Gai using it then for his personal prowess, and now to sustain war of no conquest.
Nevertheless, the organisation’s objectives should be advanced now without hesitation. Hesitation would means putting more at stake. I learned reliably that serious adverse consequences have already surfaced in the area.
It has been reported that teratogenic effects of chemical components emitted by oil producers have visibly stunned the area inhabitants. It has repeatedly been mentioned that headless and limbless children have been born.
The locals have seen things they have never seen in their territory emerging and it has however prompted one speaker to wonder as to why such things could be allowed to progressively engulf the area once habitably peaceful?
The advent of serious illnesses of varied background has raised people’s anxiety. Misgivings are heaping with people wondering about the inherent pollution of water bodies, soil and of course the air. Despite being a Savanna shrub-land the current mind-boggling instances have rarely been experienced in that territory for time immemorial.
Rightly indeed, people of Ruweng State are experiencing unexpected rapid change and thus serious short and long term inimical consequences must quickly be mitigated. It is true that many factors are contributing to their sufferings.
Concern authorities should note with serious commitment that soil has been rendered infertile, pastoralism is ceasing because animals are dying ceaselessly and that water bodies are polluted with fish becoming a rare species and it even become more worrying that hunger is stealing the show.
More so, serious illnesses took course in debilitating medically underserviced society. Is there anything to be happy about in such instances? Save the society now! Till then yours truly, Mr. Teetotaler!