South Sudan has begun investigations into whether increasing number of infants born with deformities in crude-oil-producing regions is linked to oil pollution, the Petroleum Ministry said.
A senior official of the landlocked country in the East-Central Africa had earlier admitted that pollution in oil producing areas was causing deformities, miscarriages and deaths during delivery.
The ministry in its statement said it was examining the case of a child from Ruweng, a northern region that produces most of the nation’s oil, to establish the cause of deformity.
“The Petroleum Ministry is currently working toward finding solutions to whether the deformation, stillbirths and miscarriages are due to the oil pollution,” the statement added.
South Sudan has the third-biggest crude reserves in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
The government says it is focusing to increase oil production to stimulate economic development, but also creating a conducive environment for communities to live in harmony.
Authorities said they were willing to partner with international and local groups to suggest ways to keep pace with the development while minimizing social and environmental impact on people living in the region.
By Benjamin Takpiny in Juba