Soot: Environmentalist tasks Wike on appointment of commissioner

An environmentalist and human rights activist, Celestine Akpobari has urged the Governor of Rivers State, Nyensom Wike to quickly appoint a commissioner of environment o look at the challenges surrounding the soot menace in the state.

Akpobari gave the advice in Port Harcourt, the state capital. He noted that the order given by the state governor to check illegal refineries was coming rather too late when many citizens have died from the pollution arising from the black soot.

Akpobari, who is also a Board member of the governing council of the Hydrocarbon Remediation Pollution Project (HYPREP), explained that since Governor Wike sacked the former Commissioner of Environment, he is yet to appoint another one, adding that there is an urgent need for a replacement, especially now that the state is facing some environmental challenges in the form of the soot.

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The rights campaigner maintained that the governor is building a lot of flyovers and will not have a full time to checkmate the activities of illegal refiners which fall within the purview of the commissioner of environment, noting that most of those destroying “our environment are situated far in the creeks within the riverine communities.”

Akpobari further said: “If you want to destroy a people, you destroy their environment because everything that sustains the people is found in the environment especially their livelihood.”
He also expressed disappointment on how some security agencies “milk the state by taking part in destroying our ecosystem and increase the environmental degradation within our their state.”

On the health implications of the soot, he explained that those living in Rivers State are in serious health hazards, ranging from respiratory diseases to liver problems, among others; while calling on the people to guard and protect the environment “since our children will inherit a clean environment.”

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