The Garden City, Port Harcourt known for its vegetative land has been plagued with a black soot raining from the sky for the last one year, caused by the legal & illegal refining of oil by both the international bodies and local militants of the Niger-delta. Niger-Delta is home to Nigeria’s most abundant resources, with oil being one of our biggest exports earning the entire nation most of it’s GDP, accounting for 70% of the government earnings and 90% of the foreign exchange, the people living in the environments the oil is produced are left in chaos, suffering from oil pollution, spills, environmental problems, poverty, violence, while the government makes profit off their suffering never dealing with the problem.
Soot is a deep black powdery or flaky substance consisting largely of amorphous carbon, produced by the incomplete burning of organic matter.
‘The city of Onitsha, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Port Harcourt, was in May last year named as having the world’s worst levels of PM10 particles. PM10 are microscopic particles in the air measuring between 2.5 and 10 thousands of a millimeter or micrometers. They can come from smoke, dust, soot, vehicle exhausts, and industries. Doctors in Port Harcourt say they are seeing the health effects of the soot already, with an increase in consultations for breathing difficulties, including asthma. Children and the elderly are most at risk. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates some 600,000 people die in Africa every year as a result of air pollution. Environmentalists are also sounding the alarm, as the soot has been found to contain sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which cause acid rain when combined with moisture. ” via Vanguard.
A petition has been filed against the government by a local journalist who has been hit with consequent backlash from the government and fear of the people to sign the petition who feel they will be killed or harassed for standing against the federal government or militants. The hashtag #StopTheSoot is being used to talk about the terrible state of things on Twitter, people share photographs of their hands and feet covered in the dust.
Where is integrity when Buhari’s government brought an alleged thief (Maina) and gave him DSS to guard him? Nigerians deserve a government where lies are its hallmark, because a people deserve the government they have. Nigerians are not eating. Nigerians are starving. But Nigeria’s integrity is to reinstatement Maina. It is to sign $26bn contracts even when you are not authorized to do so. – Asari Dokubo
The issues here need to be taken seriously, with swift action by the government, private bodies have also risen to help research and stop the pollution of soot across the city as things will only worsen and the effects become more rampant. Nigeria has four cities among 20 of the world’s worst-ranked cities for air quality which puts the nation at terrible risk.
“It was very uncomfortable because the city was hotter than usual. Soot was everywhere, on surfaces inside and outside homes. People are doing what they can to stay safe. Wearing nose masks, which are now sold in traffic, has become necessary to avoid breathing in dangerous particles.” a victim shared with Quartz.
Indie Nigerian filmmaker, Ifeoma Chukwuogo‘s brilliant documentary ‘Collateral Damage’ on the state of things going on sheds light on how terrible it really is, capturing real-life situations and opinions of the victims living through this conundrum. We can’t be docile about this any longer, sign the petition to #StopTheSootInPHC here.
Watch Collateral Damage below :