In a bid to urgently address the air pollution problem in Port Harcourt and its environs, the Federal Ministry of Environment has declared the air pollution in Port Harcourt an “Emergency Situation” and has subsequently issued a notice to temporarily shut down an asphalt processing plant in Port Harcourt belching out thick smoke from its operation to bring the situation under control. while investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the air pollution.
The air pollution which usually manifest in the form of soot has been on for more than eight weeks and has greatly impacted negatively on the air quality in Port Harcourt and its surroundings.
Aware of the attendant negative effects of this menace on socio-economic, health and environmental impact, the Federal Government took a bold step by rallying all major stakeholders, which includes the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, the Federal Ministry of Health and the people of Rivers State to find a lasting solution to arrest the ugly trend. The development led to the closure of the plant by the Rivers State Government.
The Ministry explained that the sources of pollution are diffuse and anthropogenic in nature (man-made) as the preliminary analyses of the soot samples has indicated that the air pollution problem is as a result of open air and incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, burning of wastes and vegetation, burning of tyres, asphalt processing and illegal artisanal refinery operations.
The Ministry therefore enjoins the public to remain calm and take adequate measures to protect themselves by adhering to the health guidelines that will be issued by the Health Authorities and to always ensure that their windows and doors are firmly shut when necessary whilst assuring that Government will continue to work assiduously to protect its citizens and the environment from any form of air pollution