The air we breathe is very important for survival. However, when substances are introduced into the atmosphere, it can be said to be polluted and as thus, have a damaging effect on living things who depend on it. Carbon Dioxide is a major pollutant predominantly associated with cars, planes and human activities such as burning of fuels. Since November 2016, residents of the oil rich Port-Harcourt in Rivers State have had to share their air with dangerous carbonaceous particles which leaves soot residue on surfaces in and out of their homes.
Research has shown that this pollution is as a result of incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons, asphalt processing and illegal artisanal refinery operations. Like all air pollutants, this is very harmful and can cause chronic respiratory conditions, various forms of cancer and infertility in women. Despite all of the threats that this poses to the city and its inhabitants and the country at large, the Rivers State Government and the Nigerian government have ostensibly chosen to ignore the plight of its people, leaving them at dangerous risk.
It is with this knowledge, that Nigerian filmmaker, Ifeoma Chukwuogo made a short documentary film on the soot crisis in Port-Harcourt. The film aptly called ‘Collateral Damage’ shines the light on what Port-Harcourt is like now and gives one the opportunity to listen to the residents of the city talk about the effects the soot has had on their lives.
In the fourteen-minute long documentary, one of the residents experienced his displeasure at how he literally feels the soot whenever he takes a breath, and he’s supposed to take at least sixteen per minute on the average. In his words,
When you come out, it looks like it wants to rain but no it’s just black soot everywhere
The government, both state and federal need to join hands and work work collectively to combat this problem to avoid an outbreak of diseases in Port-Harcourt.
You can watch the short film here