The pictures above may have been taken in May 2018 but it is the reality of most days in Port Harcourt and its environs. Residents wake up to hazes of black soot covering their skies and lining their furniture and the inner linings of their respiratory system. The health effects of this soot can best be described as life threatening. How did we get here?
Soot is gotten from combustion of certain materials. These materials include, but not limited to, wood, rubber and rubber based materials, plastics, petroleum products etc. If one is to be more specific, there are certain activities by government and individuals alike that contribute to particular problem. They include:
Gas flaring in the Niger Delta by the International Oil Companies.
Illegal oil bunkering and artisinal refining of crude oil.
Destruction of the the illegal artisinal refineries.
Burning of old and condemned motor tyres and other industrial wastes.
Burning of domestic refuse.
It is not enough to list out the causes of soot. It is equally pertinent to outline the solution(s) to this problem. Possible solutions are:
Tougher legislation(s) against gas flaring.
Processing of flared natural gas into cooking gas and forms usable for industrial purposes.
Reorientation and sensitization of the youths and local communities in the adverse effects of illegal oil bunkering and artisinal refining.
Licensing of modular refineries.
Recycling and reuse of plastics etc.
If these suggestions are adhered to or even given proper consideration, I have no doubt that the issue of black soot will be solved .