State Government in Nigeria forms a task force to investigate the soot pollution in the South
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23 شباط/فبراير 2017 Author :   Godwin Oritse
Photo By: UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - The Rivers State Government in South-south Nigeria has set up a task force to investigate the disturbing black soot that has filled the atmosphere, following complaints by Port Harcourt city resident.

The task force, which will be backed by technical experts will liaise with major stakeholders to resolve the environmental challenges posed by the black soot.

Shortly after an Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner of Information, Dr Austin Tam-George told journalists that the resolution to form the task force was arrived at by the Commissioner of Environment, Professor Roseline Konya, following the preliminary results of Ministerial Investigations, and complaints from city resident.

Residents who spoke to PAMACC News Agency said that their vehicles and washed clothes are now dotted by the substance just as some people have reportedly fallen ill possibly due to the effect of the spots. Another affected resident, Mr. Chris Okpala has threatened to sue the state government over the issue.

Emmanuel Gawa, a resident in the city said that the soot was first observed in October 2016 adding that it has become a major source of environmental scare for the residents.

In the meantime, the state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association has advised residents to close their windows and doors, mop the floor of their houses and possibly wear face masks.

Adewale Ojo, an environmentalist observed that the soot falls more at nights and early hours of the morning.

The source of the soot in the Niger Delta is believed to be from gas flares, burning of illegal refineries, crude oil, burning of oil spills by incompetent contractors and the burning of sundry wastes.

Such soot has been highly linked to cancer and other deadly respiratory infections.

Members of the task force to investigate the origin and the health impact of the black soot include the Commissioner of Environment, Professor Roseline Konya, the Commissioner of Special Duties, Emeka Onowu and the Commissioner of Information.

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