An environment foundation, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, has warned that bitumen, which is discovered in commercial quantities in some states, is a worse polluter than petroleum.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Nnimmo Bassey, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recently in Abuja, that bitumen exploitation was toxic and environmentally unfriendly.
Bassey, therefore, underscored the need for environmental impact assessment must not be compromised in the course of exploitation, to forestall worse problems than petroleum in the country.
“Very soon, bitumen issue is going to come up in Nigeria and bitumen is even more dangerous than crude oil.
“So, you are going to expect a belt of five states from Edo to Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Lagos states. When they start bitumen exploitation, it’s going to be really horrible.
It is estimated that Nigeria has about 42 billion tonnes of bitumen deposits, which is said to be twice the volume of existing crude oil reserves in Nigeria.
Bassey, however, said that while the expected pollution could not be avoided, its impacts, particularly on the host communities, could be mitigated saying “The pollution from bitumen can only be forestalled by not extracting the bitumen.” (NAN)