Residents of Port Harcourt, capital city of Rivers State are virtually marking time before a major epidemic hits the city with a magnitude that has never been seen before in Nigeria. With the rate at which the black soot disaster is unfolding unchecked, it is clear, though no one in that city would accept this, that people residing in that city are walking corpses. In fact, if the residents walk a little slower, you could rightly describe them as zombies. Some religious people reading this introduction will quickly say “it is not my portion!” But they have been “feeding fat” on this dangerous substance for some years without doing anything to draw attention of authorities to the impending disaster with a view to addressing it.
Everyone is complaining yet going about their normal businesses. Why is Port Harcourt now the city of the living dead? What is black soot and what is it doing to the health of those living in that city? What is really happening in Port Harcourt?
Soot includes the fine black particles, primarily composed of carbon, produced by incomplete combustion of coal, oil, wood, or other fuels. Soot can consist of acids, chemicals, metals, soils, and dust. The common trait of soot particles is that they are extremely tiny – 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter. This is smaller than dust and mold, and is about 1/30 the diameter of a human hair. The fact that soot is extremely small in size and has toxic composition is what makes it very dangerous. Soot can travel deep into the lung, where the compounds it consists of can do some serious damage. This is what residents of Port Harcourt have been ushering into their lungs since 2016.
The one devastating Port Harcourt is Black Soot. Imagine what then happens to children? It means that in the nearest future, children below the age of five who are currently in Port Harcourt could end up with deformed lungs and terrible respiratory situations with excruciating pains. Yet numerous Labour Unions in that state have kept quiet because the situation has nothing to do with their salaries. What is really the difference between chemical weapons used in wars and what is happening in Port Harcourt presently? Well, the basic difference is speed of death. In Port Harcourt the death is slower than where chemical weapons are used in war.
As has been pointed out, 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. People residing in and around Port Harcourt get covered in this black soot as they go about their daily activities. This does not happen only when they stay out all day. Their homes are no longer safe because the soot filters in through unlocked doors and opened surfaces. In fact, another name for the brand of air they breathe today is black sooth. They are working corpses; just a matter of time.
It is nolonger unusual to go out decked in white and return home covered in black dust. Parts of the state have witnessed permanent dark clouds since the black soot pollution started. Though the state government has acknowledged the black soot problem, it is clear enough has not been done. There are several safety measures existing online, regarding how to survive black soot pollution; but this is like prescribing how to live safely in hell with the devil and his demons as your landlord and neighbours. Let no one get deceived by the safety measures being spread in the media (general cleaning, shut windows, use nose mask, etc.). The Port Harcourt situation is beyond those measures.
Checkout what research evidence revealed about black suit as posted on cashin.com;
Compounds from soot – sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides – combine with moisture to form acid rain, which worsens water quality, damages soil and crops, and changes nutrient balances in various ecosystems. Breathing the tiny particles can cause coronary heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, and many other respiratory illnesses.
Research has also shown that many premature deaths are directly related to soot in the environment. Particle exposure leads to around 20,000 premature deaths in America each year. Many of these deaths were caused by soot-related diseases. Data also show that soot annually causes almost 300,000 asthma attacks and 2 million lost workdays due to respiratory problems.
So you see, black soot is an open door to premature deaths. What is the essence of striving hard to make money in an atmosphere of black soot, knowing quite well you are heading towards premature death only to be survived by children with deformed lungs and regular visits to the hospital due to heart diseases and chronic asthma?
This is food for thought. While still waiting for government to do something, residents of Port Harcourt can actually do something to save their children, since the adults seem to be okay with “chasing money” in an atmosphere of black soot.