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Clouds of Black Smoke Darken South Sudan’s Growing Oil Profits

  • Government auditing oil fields in first bid to mitigate damage
  • Environmental problems not stopped state push to sell more oil
Spent munitions lie on the ground at an abandoned oil treatment facility in Unity State, South Sudan.
Spent munitions lie on the ground at an abandoned oil treatment facility in Unity State, South Sudan.Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Crude oil, key to boosting South Sudan’s economy, is destroying crucial pasture land, polluting water, and increasing birth defects. Now it’s finally bad enough for the government to take notice.

Grass is black from oil spills, air is dark from pillars of black smoke and layers of “black gold” cover water supplies.