A five-kilometer-long oil spill was discovered near Edfu, a town north of Aswan, in October. Aside from the usual environmental damage from oil spills — destroyed ecosystems and destruction of wildlife — the oil continued to drift north, reaching crucial water purification facilities and destroying farmland, robbing thousands of access to drinkable water.
But despite strident calls for the Environment Ministry and Aswan Governor Mohamed Mostafa to look into the spill, residents and environmental activists say no real investigation took place.
Ahmed Zaky, an environmental activist and Aswan resident, says authorities made announcements to the press and then bought in equipment to dilute or clean the spill and “calm residents down.”
“[But] there was no investigation whatsoever,” he says.
Mostafa has said the remaining oil shrunk to an area five meters long, as state news agency MENA reported. The Environment Ministry added that the oil spill investigation had closed after the area was cleaned up and the problem solved. It attributed the spill to an accidental leak from a nearby sugar factory.
Not everyone, however, is convinced that the case is closed, as many residents’ land remains covered in oil and fish farms remain destroyed. The Habi Center for Environmental Rights filed a legal complaint, seeking to hold Mostafa and the Irrigation and Water Resources, Health and Environment Ministries accountable for the damage.