South Sudan ignores reports on oil pollution, birth defects

PALOCH, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s oil regions are pocked by open waste pits and water and soil contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals. That’s according to four environmental reports commissioned by the government and the oil companies that operate there. The reports, which were obtained by AP but have never been released publicly, also contain accounts by local residents of unexplained illnesses, miscarriages and severe birth defects. The toxins found in water and soil include mercury, arsenic and manganese, the reports show.