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The key environmental issues in the Niger Delta of Nigeria relate to its petroleum and industry. The delta covers 20,000 km² within wetlands of 70,000 km²The key environmental issues in the Niger Delta of Nigeria relate to its petroleum and industry.The delta covers 20,000 km² within wetlands of 70,000 km² formed primarily by sediment deposition. Home to 20 million people and 40 different ethnic groups, this floodplain makes up 7.5% of Nigeria's total land mass. It is the largest wetland and maintains the third-largest drainage basin in Africa. The Delta's environment can be broken down into four ecological zones: coastal barrier islands, mangrove swamp forests, freshwater swamps, and lowland rainforests. This incredibly well-endowed ecosystem contains one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet, in addition to supporting abundant flora and fauna, arable terrain that can sustain a wide variety of crops, lumber or agricultural trees, and more species of freshwater fish than any ecosystem in West Africa. The region could experience a loss of 40% of its inhabitable terrain in the next thirty years as a result of extensive dam construction in the region. Sadly, the advent of oil production has also negatively impacted the Niger Delta region due to unprecedented oil spillage which has been ongoing for the past 5 decades making the region one of the most polluted in the world. It is estimated that while European union experienced 10 incidence of oil spills in 40 years, Nigeria recorded 9,343 cases within 10 years.The carelessness of the oil industry has also precipitated this situation, which can perhaps be best encapsulated by a 1983 report issued by the NNPC, long before popular unrest surfaced: We witnessed the slow poisoning of the waters of this country and the destruction of vegetation and agricultural land and good water source by oil spills which occur during petroleum operations. But since the inception of the oil industry in Nigeria, more than fifty years ago, there has been no concerned and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the oil operators, to control environmental problems associated with the industry'.The resultant environmental degradation from gas flaring, dredging of larger rivers, oil spillage and reclamation of land due to oil and gas extraction across the Niger Delta region costs about US$758 million every year. Regrettably, 75% of the cost is borne by the local communities through polluted water, infertile farmland and lost biodiversity.