Oil operations in South Sudan have resulted in soil and water being polluted with toxic chemicals and heavy metals that have serious consequences on the health of residents in oil-rich?

Oil operations in South Sudan have resulted in soil and water being polluted with toxic chemicals and heavy metals that have serious consequences on the health of residents in oil-rich regions, but authorities have purposefully buried four such reports, the Associated Press reports, citing the reports it has obtained from people with knowledge of the oil operations.

According to the reports, open waste pits near oil sites have contaminated the water and the soil, resulting in an increased number of miscarriages and ?alarming? birth defects, the AP reported on Thursday.

One of the newest countries in the world, South Sudan, broke from Sudan in 2011 and took with it around 350,000 bpd in oil production. But then civil war in South Sudan broke out in 2013 that further complicated oil production.

Currently, South Sudan pumps around 180,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

The two main oil consortia operating in South Sudan are Chinese-led Dar Petroleum Operating and the Greater Pioneer Operating. According to the environmental reports the AP has obtained, the companies and the government of South Sudan have been aware for years of those reports and have buried them.

According to non-profit organizations, South Sudan's oil operations are one of the dirtiest in the world.

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Last month, South Sudan's government said that it looks to have a full environmental impact audit of all its oil-producing fields and conduct such audits ahead of any new exploration and drilling in the country.

?The sector has in the past caused a loss of grazing land, deforestation, soil and water contamination, and health issues in and around oil-producing areas,? the South Sudan government further noted.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir said in August last year that he ?will not tolerate irresponsible activities in the oil sector? and has promised that the era of "bad business" is coming to an end.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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