South Sudan to launch environmental audit in oil-producing regions

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-10 21:47:25|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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JUBA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Friday launched a road map to boost environmental audit in oil-producing regions by calling a tender proposal from competent foreign companies in a bid to curb pollution and address public uproar over poor waste management.

Awow Daniel Chuang, minister of petroleum, said the government will enhance environmental audit before oil exploration and drilling, adding that understanding the pollution damage will allow the country to put systems in place to prevent further damage as the young nation looks to ramp up production.

"Tender pre-qualification documents for conducting a full environmental audit will be available during office hours at the Ministry of Petroleum's headquarters in Juba, and from its website. The documentation will be available from Jan. 13-20," Chuang said in a statement issued in Juba.

He said an international independent organization will now be appointed to conduct the audit, mandated to suggest best practices for new exploration as well as ways to repair the historical damage in the country.

Last year, President Salva Kiir warned that his government would be taking a stronger stance against pollution in oil-producing states, noting that the government is eager to welcome new exploration and production. Companies would be held to a high standard.

Petroleum Act of 2012, enacted a year after independence, is designed to better manage the environmental impact of the sector after years of neglect prior to independence, and the resulting pollution. The civil war also prevented the proper management of the environment.

South Sudan is now facing the challenge of balancing developmental needs with the spirit of environmental protection enshrined in the Petroleum Act. The sector has in the past caused a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas.