“We have held some meetings with officials from the oil field and we were promised that there would be radical solutions, things like the installation of filters for the treatment of pollutants,” explains Naeem Damad, who heads the provincial council's health committee. “But none of those promises have been kept.”
NIQASH collected the concerns of various local interviewees and during an interview with Abbas Hamid, a senior engineer with the oil industry in Wasit, asked about them. “The emissions from the gas and oil fields here are within permissible limits,” Hamid insisted, downplaying the concerns and noting that within a year, some measures – including piping surplus gases away from the area – would have been taken. “They don't cause damage to anyone's health.”
In the meantime locals just have to deal with the effects of oil company pollution here. Local Naqi explains that when the oil companies first started to extract oil and gas here, people were every optimistic: they thought the industry would create jobs and other economic opportunities, so that standards of living would go up. “But the reality has been so different from those expectations,” Naqi concludes.
“If the authorities don't somehow stop the Chinese company from polluting everything, many families will continue to suffer serious health problems.”
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