Nnimmo Bassey advocates the Health of Mother Earth. He hails from the Niger Delta, known to be the most polluted place on earth, a place that has been plundered and where serious human rights abuses occurred as a direct result of the exploitative behaviour of multinational corporations.
Nnimmo visited the Mpumalanga Highveld of South Africa, and was shocked at what he witnessed:
You may think you have seen it all- especially if you have seen or lived in the horrors of oil activities in the Niger Delta. I thought so too, particularly because I have devoted at least two decades of my life in persistent pursuit of polluted lands (at home and abroad) searching for ways to comprehend the great harm generated by extractive activities.
Some of the places that have left deep impressions in my heart are documented in my book Oilwatching in South America – Or, Guana Guara – Mudfish Out of Water a Pollution Tour Of Venezuela, Curaçao, Peru & Ecuador. This book is more or less the diary of a pollution tour of these countries carried out in 1997 under the auspices of Oilwatch International. Others can be found in To Cook a Continent – Destructive Extraction and Climate Impacts on Africa.
After many years of following the heavy pollution of communities in South West Durban in South Africa, and with kin ears for developments related to proposed fracking in the Karoo, I was still not prepared for the level of impacts from mining in Witbank, Old Coronation mine and other Highveld communities. This filed trip was organised by groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa) as a prelude to Oilwatch Africa conference that was held in Midrand mid May 2013. On the group were activists from eleven African countries.
The field trip in Mpumalanga Province where mines literally turned to walking in minefields!