Bureaucracy further chokes Port-Harcourt city
The Rivers state government drags its legs as hundreds of thousands of lives are put at risk.
These black particles are known as soot. According to Google soot is "a deep black powdery or flaky substance consisting largely of amorphous carbon, produced by the incomplete burning of organic matter."
Last week, the condition became so dire that residents of Port Harcourt expressed their concerns over the air pollution.
This week, residents of Port-Harcourt used the hashtag to bring awareness to what is going on in the city.
An environmental analyst Charles Ohia tweeted on Thursday, February 9, 2017, about the air pollution. "If the soot is doing this much visible damage to physical objects, imagine what it’s doing to the respiratory systems of the people in PHC!"
Paul_Bem a Twitter user who resides in Port-Harcourt tweeted a photo of the soot that was in his son's nostrils. "From the nostrils of my 9month old. This is unacceptable!" he tweeted.
Remarkably, the Rivers State government has no idea why soot has covered the Port-Harcourt city. In usual fashion, it has constituted a "panel" to investigate the air pollution crisis.
"The committee, which will be backed by technical experts, will liaise with major stake holders to resolve the environmental challenges posed by the black soot," said Governor Nyesom Wike.
The statement of Austin Tam-George, the Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications was filled with more government-speak and less of possible solutions.
"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 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" Austin Tam-George told Channels TV.
While the government dilly-dallies with bureaucracy, the lives of people who are living in Port-Harcourt are being endangered.
"Residents of Port Harcourt, Ekpan and the Niger Delta as a whole deserve a breath of air that is fresh and devoid of soot and black carbon," wrote environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey on his blog on Thursday, February 9, 2017.
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