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refinery Illegal

Revealed: Soot enveloping Port Harcourt coming from cells of illegal refineries

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At last, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), has umasked the origin of unprecedented black cloud of soot that have taken over the hitherto serene atmosphere in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, saying they are coming from chimneys illegal refineries surrounding the metropolis.

Accordingly, the group has called on the federal and Rivers State governments to urgently put an end to illegal refineries, which are causing soot in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Penultimate Tuesday, the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Hassan Jibril visited the city with some agencies top officials and said that government visited to have firsthand experience and therefrom, begin to identify the cause and remedies as soon as possible.

However, PENGASSAN averred that the soot, in the form of thick black smoke covering the city, could be the root cause of some of the respiratory problems being experienced by residents of Port Harcourt.

In a statement made available to Business Hilights correspondent in Port Harcourt by the National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Fortune Obi, PENGASSAN stated that the soot had been confirmed by experts to be carcinogenic, stressing that the associated health implications of the soot in Port Harcourt could be worse than Ebola if evaluated on the long-term effect.

Obi noted that “The black soot settles on everything and finds its way into the corners of living rooms no matter how hard people try to stop it. Food items in Port Harcourt markets are as well not spared from getting mixed with this deadly soot that is ever present everywhere”.

“Majority believed that the source of this soot is due to incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons as well as asphalt processing, burning of barges/vessels used for oil bunkering and illegal artisanal refinery operations in some parts of the state.

“There is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders to end this environmental hazard. We, therefore, call on the state and the federal governments to put strategic action in place to finally address this black soot and put an end to whatever is the source.

“This is not the time to play politics with people’s lives. The federal and state governments, security agencies as well as all agencies in charge of environment, including the National Emergency Management Agency and its Rivers State counterpart, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, Department of Petroleum Resources and other agencies handling related issues, should tow a defined and safe path in handling illegal oil vessels as well as the criminal act of illegal refining of crude oil that are said to be the key reason of this menace.”

PENGASSAN therefore called for the arrest of the criminals perpetrating the economic sabotage alongside their masked collaborators at government corridors.

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