Residents in Port Harcourt, a harbour in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, staged protests to complain about heavy air pollution blamed on an Asphalt factory.
They said that black soot has been settling on their roof tops, cars, houses and even nostrils in recent months raising fears of environmental pollution.
“The awareness is a very necessary requirement because a lot of us are suffering, from our nostrils, from the water we drink, from the water we bath to everything. You wake up in the morning to black particles surrounding us and making us unhealthy,” said Myne Wilfred, a protester.
Environmental rules are often not implemented in the West African nation due to weak state resources and widespread corruption.
“These matters — we can go and shut down two or three plants, we rebound two or three sites, but this matter eventually strikes at the very fabric of our federal system. We must make sure we control this situation,” said Austin Tam-George, Rivers State commissioner for information.
Charles Adolor and his family say their apartment has soot covering everything from windows to bathroom sinks. This has affected his family’s health which he suspects has a lot to do with the air pollution.
“If you look around my apartment, my window, the veranda, the window nets, my kitchen, the sink, even to the bathroom. If I am having my bath the colour of the water, the stains on the sink is always black. Sometimes it take more than extra effort before you can even wash them off. Before we can use already washed plates, we have to re-wash them again before we can use them to eat,” said Adolor.
In the Niger Delta, residents have complained for years about crude spills from broken pipelines and acid rains a result of wasteful burning of natural gas at oil wells. scientists say particle pollution like soot is risky to human.