“About 1.2 million people are currently critically ill in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state, with another 400 thousand already confirmed dead. The hospitals are fully packed with patients lying outside in the open, due to lack of space. The morgues are fully packed with corpses lying in the open space. The death rate is now alarming with about 120 recorded every day. There is nothing the government can do now to save the residents of Port Harcourt, especially now that so many have died.”
Well, you may describe this news flash above as fake news now but the way the black soot situation is going, this news flash above will no longer be fake news in another 3 years. Research evidence suggests that it could take just about five years for black soot to kill people or make them ‘living corpses’ (depending on level of exposure). The black soot situation began in Port Harcourt in 2016 (not 2017). So it means Port Harcourt residents have done two, in another three they will be dead (or living corpses with terminal diseases). This does not include children below the age of five whose lungs are not developed enough to withstand in-take of toxic substances as dangerous as black soot. For children born this year, they could die before their 3rd birth day because of severe deformity of their lungs caused by black soot.
If you are currently living in Port Harcourt, it is just a matter of time before you “turn”. Those who watch Zombie films understand what that means. Everyone is “infected” and just a matter of time before you become a living corpse! Believe it or not; you can use faith to say “it is not my portion! I reject it!” The fact remains that you should just give black soot a little more time and the money you are making now will be to buy drugs with which you will manage cancer, heart diseases, deformed longs and a long period of sadness inflicted on you by this toxic black substance which also has metal particles in it; your lungs are grappling with it now in small quantity but with time in grave quantity.
The safest thing for everyone to do now is to visualize the worst-case scenario of the black soot situation as this is the only way to mobilize Port Harcourt residents to do something. For your information, there is nothing like best case scenario in an atmosphere of black soot. There is only one scenario – mass death for those breathing in the deadly substance now.
Again, we quote part of the Part One of our series on “Port Harcourt! Now City of The Living Dead” just to provide background to the situation people in that “ex-garden city” find themselves currently. “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 Port Harcourt residents have been ushering into their lungs for years now.
“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.”
In part one of our series on “Port Harcourt! Now City of The Living Dead” we observed that “…residents of Port Harcourt can actually do something to save their children….” Someone read the story online and reacted in a worrisome manner. What was that reaction? The person wrote that only federal or state government can do something and there was nothing parents could do for their children except relocating them to other states. Funny but disturbing. So there is even an option which is to relocate the kids? For your information some people have actually relocated their children. I ask again, can you equate the cost of relocating your children to the cost of having them alive with deformed lungs and excruciating pains experienced every time they breathe due to terrible diseases caused by black soot?
Relocating the kids may be okay but that is not the option advocated here. Before running away from a battle you have to fight first otherwise you cannot call it a battle. Are we saying that the entire state cannot be shut down until something is done by the relevant authorities? This shut down is what so many people have been screaming for on radio, television and social media. They believe that once all workers in public and private sectors shut down, something MUST happen. This includes shutting down all business in the city. We agree with those who share this view. Everyone is involved. Everyone is dying. You cannot be making money you will only use to take care of lung disease or cancer later in life. What is the essence?
Where are all those unions that dash into strike action once their salary is tampered with – Resident Doctors, Tanker drivers that know how to embark on strike on Christmas day, the entire NLC,NUC TUC, where are they? Nothing new is being said here. So many people are saying this on radio, television and social media, yet nothing is happening. People are not yet serious to pull down solution to the crisis. Of course, this is Nigeria. Action will definitely start when the first 200 people die at the same time. Then the Unions will wake up, residents will start talking, government will then swing into action.
As pointed out earlier, there is nothing new being said here. People are already screaming in the media that there is need to mobilize against the black soot. But “slaktivism” will not help matters here. Slaktivism is a term coined by Dwight Ozard and Fred Clark in 1995 which basically refers to armchair activism. It refers to being an online activist, signing online petitions and showing much desire to do something online but when it comes to physically coming out to do the battle and achieve the goal, you hide or use excuses to sit back. As Izuchukwu Mekowulu puts it, “Slaktivist activities include signing internet petition, copying and pasting of social network statuses or messages. In everyday language, the slaktivist is just an “oh yes member” of a social course; who just sits back and expects that others will take the needed high risk action that would bring about change.” So we need to understand that no battle is completely won in the air, that is, through air strikes. You still need boots on the ground to wrap up the fight.
Of course there are several instances across the world where people were mobilized through social media to come out for struggles and they succeeded. It is not only the popular Arab spring or several movements across the US which began online. This is a serious life and death matter that should not be left for politicians alone.
The churches and other worship centers must be part of this mission to save Port Harcourt from mass death or should I just say “mass cancer”. The pastor and congregation both breathe in black soot with very tiny metal particles which end up in their lungs waiting for the right quantity and time to destroy them. Since there is nothing like “Black soot anointing’, the churches should not keep quiet at all.
In terms of what has been done thus far by residents of Port Harcourt and government, let’s take a cue from what konbini.com wrote concerning the situation: “The black soot which is believed to cause respiratory diseases, and even cancer, led Nigeria’s ministry of environment to declare an air pollution emergency in the affected areas. At the time, the ministry claimed preliminary test samples of the soot indicated it was caused by “incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons” as well as “asphalt processing and illegal artisanal refinery operations.” Burning tyres for scrap copper and illegal oil refineries have both been blamed for the residue. The state government shut down an asphalt processing plant operating in the area and sealed off a Chinese company in the city for “aggravated air pollution, and breach of environmental laws”. The hashtag #StopTheSoot was used to protest on Twitter, people shared photographs of their hands and feet covered in the dust, and protest marches were organised. For a while, the soot stopped, but as of today, it appears that it has fully returned, and residents are once again in a panic. The #StopTheSoot has returned and we, as a nation, need to pay attention to the plight of the people in Port Harcourt.”
So the fact is that the black soot did not just return, it is “enjoying” a free street party right now and the situation is truly dire. It is dreadful, lamentable, and urgent.
Again, the warning continues. Port Harcourt is now the city of the living dead. People are committing suicide yet they are pretending not to know that. 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.