Federal Government said the black soot, currently being experienced in Port Harcourt and its environs, was caused by activities of illegal oil refiners, bunkers and burning of tyres.
INNOCENT citizens in the Niger-Delta have for decades lived with all manner of environmental hazards linked to crude oil exploitation.
These range from massive oil spills to acid rains from gas flaring and the proliferation of illegal refineries.
Federal Government agencies also add to the problem by the manner in which they destroy illegal refineries,
thus pumping more toxic substances into the environment.
They have made life less abundant for the people; farmlands, fishing resources, even sources of drinkable water is severely polluted.
Port Harcourt residents in Rivers state are at risk of having health issues that may arise from the recently noticed black soot deposits on cars and rooftops.
The black soot is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon in the air.
Black soot has been associated with asthma, bronchitis, coronary heart disease and some other respiratory illnesses.
The toxicity of the black soot sometimes causes cancer which may lead to premature death.
Mr Peter Idabor, Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) disclosed that
the soot particles could not be prevented from entering homes and offices.
“The soot particle is inhaled and after sometimes becomes an irritant and the individual starts coughing.
After a persistent cough, a wound is created inside the lungs.
Mr Peter Idabor, Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) disclosed this at the beginning of a Joint Activation and Drill Exercise in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday.
He further attributed the development to activities in abattoirs and kpo-fire (a slang used to describe illegal oil bunkering business ) operators who carry out their illicit activities at night.
While government hunts down all manufacturing companies that refuse to adopt environmentally-safe methods of production and sanction them accordingly.
There is also the urgent need to mount awareness programmes calling the people’s attention to the inherent dangers of black soot on public health.
The government is making efforts to enlighten the people on how they can minimise the danger by:
Frequent washing of hands,
covering of food and
cleaning of surfaces is paramount.
Citizens are encouraged to use nose masks whenever the soot becomes palpable.
Protective clothing will help many residents at this period when the city and its environs are covered with soot.
The best way to keep yourself healthy, save your lungs, heart from cancer and premature death is to start taking;
Antioxidants that will cleanse your system from free radicals, cancerous cells and all the respiratory illnesses especially your kids.
The soot rain must be exterminated at the source; the sooner the better.
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