Of Shameful Shell and dirty profits

When shareholders meet for Shell’s AGM on 18 May, you can bet there will be a lot of talk about their $9.8 billion profits. Less talked about will be the human cost of their activities in the Niger Delta – such as the 23 million people drinking poisoned water.

Amnesty International has launched a fund-raising campaign against Shell and its dirty dealings in the Niger Delta and seing as not much has changed since I last wrote about this, I think I’ll dig up a post that is still highly relevant to the issue.

Delusional Shell oil company prides itself on its progressive Green initiatives and like other big energy companies, Shell likes to put on an ethical mask and pretend to do good in the world.  But the world isn’t stupid and the company has been slated more than once by environmentalists for its blatant greenwash.

Anyway, for years now Shell has been making monster profits in the Niger Delta and as the Niger Delta is characterised by vital wetlands, freshwater swamps and much much more, it’s not hard to imagine the implications of intense activity by oil companies.  And it’s not just the environment that is suffering.  People are being affected too.  In typical corporate mentality, it’s simply a matter of profit before people and Shell, one of the biggest companies there, is not averse to exploiting people and dodging accountability.
Basically, the Delta is being polluted and the people who have lived there for years are bearing the burden of decades of oil leakage, pollution, water contamination and utter devastation.  Livelihoods are being ruined, rare species are under dire threat, crops are being damaged and all in all, tensions are high resulting in conflict and instability within the region.  Don’t take my word for it.  According to this article, WWF conducted a report about three years ago which concluded that “the impact of oil and gas drilling was a “significant contributor to the current violence, sabotage of pipelines/installations and instability in the region.”
It won’t be a surprise to know that the oil guys haven’t done much to improve things since the report was released.  Amnesty is specifically targeting Shell and, rightly crying human rights abuses, they are asking us to make Shell clean up its act:


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