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FG declares emergency in P/Harcourt over soot, shuts firm

The federal Ministry of Environment has declared emergency on the hovering soot of smoke engulfing parts of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital in the last eight weeks.

Whereas investigation to ascertain any other possible cause of the pollution in the area was ongoing by the federal government, it has ordered the closure of the suspected firm.

In a statement, the Ministry said “In a bid to urgently address the air pollution problem in Port Harcourt and its environs, the FME has declared the air pollution in the area an emergency situation.”

“The ministry was aware of the attendant negative effects of the menace on the socio-economic, health and environmental activities of residents of the area, adding that this was why the Federal Government took a bold step by rallying all major stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem.

While explaining that the sources of pollution were diffuse and anthropogenic or man-made in nature, the ministry stated that preliminary analyses of the soot samples indicated that the air pollution problem was 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 statement advised residents of the area to take adequate measures to protect themselves by adhering to the guidelines that would be issued by health authorities and always ensure that their windows and doors were firmly shut when necessary.