AUTHOR: Joseph Athian | PUBLISHED: September 4, 2023
Underground storage tank leaks can have serious consequences, including groundwater contamination, damage to surrounding ecosystems, and potential harm to human health, according to heath experts | Credit | Joseph Athian/Akol Yam
Authorities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State have ordered for closure of a gas station in Aweil town after suspected leaks from its underground storage tank allegedly killed four children recently.
Underground storage tanks hold toxic materials, such as gasoline and waste oil, which contain dangerous substances that can cause cancer and harm developing children. Chemicals in the tanks can quickly move through soil and pollute groundwater.
The Africa Energy and Investment fuel station is located at Malou Awer residential area, where residents drink water from boreholes.
Officials believe that the leaks contaminated the water, causing death of four little children, with the youngest said to be eight months old.
Madam Nyibol Makuek, a resident, says she lost her baby due to strange illnesses caused by fuel pollution.
“It killed my 8-month-old child. My sister and two cousins lost their children to the water contamination too. It has killed four children,” Nyibol told Akol Yam.
In response, the Civil Defense in the state shut down the refill station to allow for investigations into the allegations to continue.
“I shut down the station to reduce the risks that might continue to happen. Now the case is before the judge. The hearing was to be heard on the 27 of August but now it has been postponed to Thursday,” said William Nhiol Chol, director, after closing down the station last week.
The family, according to the court file, is demanding for compensation.
The African Energy and Investment, which is located just 10 meters from Nyibol’s house, is managed and owned by an Ethiopian national.