, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 685–701 | Cite as

Oil Contamination in Ogoniland, Niger Delta

  • Olof Lindén
  • Jonas Pålsson


The study shows extensive oil contamination of rivers, creeks, and ground waters in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The levels found in the more contaminated sites are high enough to cause severe impacts on the ecosystem and human health: extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPHs) (>10-C40) in surface waters up to 7420 μg L−1, drinking water wells show up to 42 200 μg L−1, and benzene up to 9000 μg L−1, more than 900 times the WHO guidelines. EPH concentrations in sediments were up to 17 900 mg kg−1. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons concentrations reached 8.0 mg kg−1, in the most contaminated sites. The contamination has killed large areas of mangroves. Although the natural conditions for degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons are favorable with high temperatures and relatively high rainfall, the recovery of contaminated areas is prevented due to the chronic character of the contamination. Oil spills of varying magnitude originates from facilities and pipelines; leaks from aging, dilapidated, and abandoned infrastructure; and from spills during transport and artisanal refining of stolen oil under very primitive conditions.


Nigeria Niger Delta Ogoniland Oil spill Pollution Mangrove 



We wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for very good comments on the manuscript. A large number of people made this investigation possible. We wish to particularly acknowledge Dr. Muralee Thummarukudy, Mr. Michael J. Cowing, Dr. Babu Gopinathan, Mr. Thorsten Kallnischkies, Dr. Donna Vorhees, and Mr. Yves Barthelemy of the UNEP team and Dr. I.I. Kakulu Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 94 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World Maritime UniversityMalmöSweden
  2. 2.Linnaeus UniversityKalmarSweden

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