BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year has moved off the front pages in most of the nation, though the damage done to the environment and economy of the Gulf region is far from repaired. However, at least that spill once had some attention from the nation and the world.
In the waters off Nigeria, Shell Oil has been drilling and extracting oil for decades, and over much of that period there have been sizable spills from both platforms and tankers. According to an article at Caradisiac, these spills have been especially large and damaging in the last few years. So much so, that it would now take an estimated 30 years to clean up the area.
A spill is a spill is a spill, and every one should get attention and be cleaned up, no matter where they are in the world.
The consequences are obviously tragic for the people of the region where the ecosystem has been devastated. The residents of the area, mostly fishermen, have seen their livelihoods disappear and their groundwater contaminated. UNEP, the United Nations program for the environment, estimates that 7,000 oil leaks totaling 13 million barrels of oil have occurred in the area since extraction began in 1989. UNEP has also estimated that Shell and other oil companies working in the area have polluted 1,000 square kilometers of land and that the level of oil in the water is now 1,000 times greater than that recommended by the Nigerian government.