Civil Society Group Calls for Sustained Action To End Port Harcourt Soot Menace

While the outcry and anxiety in Port Harcourt over the lingering soot problem may has been temporarily relaxed as much of the visible evidence of pollutants is been washed away by the heavy rains of the wet season, members of the Civil Society have continued to raise concerns over long term effects of the menace.

On Thursday, June 30, the Civil Society Coalition on Environmental Action renewed their call for sustainable action against the Soot problem in Rivers State.

In a statement jointly signed by Amadi Boma of Wazobia FM , Ebenezer Wikina of Policy Shapers and Emmanuel Ndukwe of Today FM, the group declared that the “Soot is not gone” even though “it currently might not be visible due to the rainy season and recent efforts by the State Government to reduce the activities of illegal refiners”.

“Our Coalition has embarked on an advocacy campaign to remind relevant stakeholders of this problem and the imminent risk it poses to”all our lives”, the statement added.
Some of the recommendations made by the Coalition include :

1. The State and Local Governments should continue to clamp down on the activities of illegal refiners as their activities constitute grave danger to the state.
2. Security operatives are encouraged to work with community members to identify the locations of these illegal refineries and safely dispose of such product.
3. The government is also advised to tackle the diverse economic challenges in the state like unemployment and multiple taxation to ensure that there are opportunities for young people to be gainfully employed and for small business to thrive. We believe this would in turn discourage people from engaging in risky illegal activities.
4. Gas flaring laws as contained in the 2021 Climate Change Act (CCA) need to be enforced in Rivers State and across the Niger Delta Region. We call on NOSDRA and other relevant agencies to action this recommendation.
5. Rivers State residents should all be good stewards of the environment by discouraging indiscriminate dumpling of refuse and desisting from from any such activities that destroy or contaminate the air, land or water bodies in the state. We need to bring back the Garden City.

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The Civil Society Coalition on Environmental Action is facilitated by the Stakeholder Democracy Network SDN under the WE-YOU Programme. It is a coalition of civil society groups, the Academia, youth groups, women rights organizations and community groups that have come together to raise awareness on the issues of pollution and environmental stewardship in Rivers State.

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