Tuesday 6 February 2018

The Unending Black Soot Pollution in Rivers State

Black soot

Since late 2016, the city of Port Harcourt have been experiencing what is popularly known as Black Soot – a degree of atmospheric carbon pollution from series of burnings and oil bunkering operations.
The issue of black soot pollution seems unending as this has lingered longer than expected. Different towns from Onne, Eleme, Odili Road, Mgbuoba, Choba, and so many others have had various levels of experience regarding this pollution.

In a bid to raise awareness, some environmental stakeholders embarked on a rally in order to raise awareness and relay worries to the appropriate authorities. One of the highlights was the rally held in February 2017 where stakeholders met with the commissioner of environment, Mrs Roseline Koya and the former commissioner of Information, Austin Tam-George, all in the presence of pressmen from different radio and television broadcast stations.

Assurances were given as to efforts of the state government regarding the pollution. It was also gathered that task forces were set up to clamp down on those illegally bunkering crude. Also, two production companies in the city were shut down, all in a bid to curb the pollution.

The pollution has however lingered and it seemed the soot only seemed to have stopped due to the rainfall in the second half of the year 2017. It has been confirmed that the soot pollution is still happening and has become more pronounced now the harmattan has ushered in the dry season.
There have been different eye witness reports all over social media, especially twitter, regarding the soot pollution at different parts of the state, especially the city of Port Harcourt.

It is worth noting that the Ogoni Clean Up exercise has dragged longer than expected, and while there have been agitations in this regard, the soot pollution affects majority part of the state as it is airborne.
That the air quality in Port Harcourt is unhealthy is an understatement. People with lung diseases, ranging from older adults and children at mostly at risk.

The hashtag #StopTheSoot has been trending on twitter in a bid to raise awareness and call on the government to do the needful. The public have been enjoined to keep children from excessive public exposure, washing of hands regularly, use of nose masks etc.
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