Damage done by Nigeria's oil pirates

This striking photograph shows the deadly blow humans have inflicted on the Niger Delta.

Parts of the once-thriving ecosystem in Nigeria's oil-rich delta have been transformed into an ecological dead zone because of oil bunkering - the practice of siphoning oil from pipelines.

Oil pirates puncture holes in pipelines, steal the crude oil, and then transport it to be sold on the black market or to be refined.

Both the theft and refining process leave behind oil spills that cause severe environmental damage to the delta, turning it into a scorched earth of oil slicks, polluted waters and sparse vegetation.

The rusted structures seen here are part of the refining process, while the boats are used to transport the stolen oil to various locations hidden deep in the delta.

This shot by photographic artist Edward Burtynsky is part of his new multidisciplinary project, Anthropocene, which explores the idea proposed by some scientists that a geological epoch shaped by human activity has begun.

It is the second of a series featuring his unsettling images that will explore the impact of humanity on the planet.

TOMORROW: Fertiliser producer Uralkali's potash mine in Berezniki, Russia.

Find out more about climate change and how it could affect you on the ST microsite here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2019, with the headline Damage done by Nigeria's oil pirates. Subscribe