For over three months now, Port Harcourt has been engulfed with black soot polluting the air and putting the residents’ health in danger.
Black soot includes black particles composed of carbon produced by incomplete combustion of coals. Soot can consist of acid, chemicals, or soil and dust and the particles are extremely tiny powder form.
The recent appearance of black soot in the city of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, has become of great concern for the residents who wake up every morning to the black sky and dusty air.
Dr Nkiru Onukha, an educationist also said: “Our environment has been polluted and for the fact that out environment has been polluted, your home has been polluted.”
Parents with toddlers and little children have also raised alarm over how their babies’ nostrils are blackened by the black air and they wondered what danger the kids are exposed to by inhaling the polluted air.
A medical practitioner, Dr John Danagogo, said the inhalation of this polluted air can lead to upper respiratory tract infections such as several medical conditions including a cough, catarrh, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.
The general manager Port Harcourt refinery company blame the soot on illegal oil activities by bunkers and vandals.
When questioned about the soot in an interview by Channels TV, Rivers state commissioner of Information said: “Port Harcourt is industrializing very fast, so there is a tendency for this kind of pollution. It’s got to do with laws as well, the extractive economy is supported by federal laws, we have a state control over such an environmental issue but ultimately, how you enforce environmental impact work is up to federal law.
“The petroleum act of 1969 is still the organizing law that regulates the industry. It is (the law) 45 years old, you would have expected that the petroleum industry bill that has been in a debate would have been passed into law. You know, a more contemporary understanding of how to tackle environmental issues.
“At the state level, we have a very committed response to environmental issues, we have been rethinking our own law to see how we can better enforce environmental regulations.”
The rivers state house of assembly recently mandated a committee on the environment to check the activities of the company operating in the city.