Harmful Emissions seriously affect human health. These emissions have been ongoing at the Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
History of Port Harcourt
Port Harcourt, also known as Pitakwa, lies along the Bonny River and is situated in the Niger Delta. In a survey done in 2016, an estimated 1,865,000 people were found to be living at the Port at the time.
The region that became known as Port Harcourt was before a fishing settlement, also called a Borokiri in Okirika language. In 1956 residents of the port at the time discovered crude oil in Oloibiri, an Ijaw settlement. The crude oil found was in commercial quantities, and Port Harcourt’s economy turned to petroleum.
The very first shipment of Nigerian crude oil exported through Port Harcourt happened in the year 1958. Port Harcourt, from then on, became the center of Nigeria`s oil economy. The Port enjoyed numerous benefits from the involvement in the petroleum industry. With the help, of some of these benefits, the Port underwent urbanization and modernization. Taller and more substantial buildings were built at the Port as well as city blocks and overpasses.
Harmful Emissions at Port Harcourt
There was a time one could eat fresh fish caught from the rivers at Port Harcourt. Things, however, have changed drastically with time as there are oils spills now on the shores of rivers. Thick layers of black soot cover everything in sight at the beaches. These oil spills have additionally destroyed residents’ farmlands and livelihoods.
The locals of these regions, however, became used to the numerous oil spills after a while and even ignored them. But while they normalized the oil spills, a new kind of danger now threatens their survival.
For more than two years, a cloud of black soot has been hanging over Port Harcourt in Nigeria. The cloud brings with it numerous black soot particles that spread all over the Port.
Since September 2019, residents of Port Harcourt have been raising concerns over the increased soot residue in the atmosphere. Residents stated that they find soot on their clothes and surfaces inside and outside their houses. The locals said that the illegal refining of crude oil was the leading cause of soot in the atmosphere.
Nigeria`s Ministry of Environment
Nigeria`s Ministry of Environment announced an air pollution emergency in the areas most affected. The ministry made claims that from tests conducted, and they found out that the leading cause of the soot was incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons along with illegal artisanal refining operations and asphalt processing.
In attempting to curb harmful air pollution, the Ministry shut down an asphalt processing plant operating in the region.
Worst Air Quality Survey
The World Health Organization named four Nigerian Cities among 20 others with the worst air quality in the world in a report. From these findings, Nigerians are particularly at more risk of being affected by air pollution. The air pollution rates so far have posed a significant health risk for the residents of Port Harcourt.
Harmful Emissions health Effects
Many premature deaths have been witnessed in the area. The smog created by combustion processes is also causing the visibility impairment of individuals living in the area. Also, the conditions at Port Harcourt are causing an increase in lung cancer and skin cancer likely due to the exposure of individuals to atmospheric insults.
The exposure to air pollution at Port Harcourt has also caused upper respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Some individuals suffer from irritations in the throat and nose due to air pollution. Additionally, the air pollution particles residents are inhaling are accumulating in their lungs and causing death.