Disease Outbreak Looms in Rivers, Expert Warns
Following the recent prevalence of hydrocarbon soot, a black substance that has spread across some parts of Rivers State, the immediate past state Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Furo Green has alerted the Federal Government on the need to urgently control the situation, as failure to do so might be tantamount to risking the lives of six million residents of the state.
Dr. Green, who spoke to The Punch in Port Harcourt on the development, noted that residents of have continually called for help since they noticed the spread of the black substance in their environment, but their cries have yielded no result yet.
Green, a consultant surgeon at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital in Port Harcourt, said there was need for government at all levels to identify the source of the pollution that had made residents of the state uncomfortable.
Identifying children with higher risk of developing respiratory problems after inhaling the hydrocarbon particles known as soot, he urged the government to scrutinise the activities of organisations involved in hydrocarbon processing.
According to him, “We suddenly noticed an increased discharge of black powdery matter in the environment, which the Ministry of Environment has traced to hydrocarbon.
“The implication of inhaling these hydrocarbon particles is that it can lead to acute inflammation of the airways which can lead to hyper stimulation of the airway and actually precipitate asthmatic attack in individuals who are predisposed to it.
“Over a long period of time it can lead to obstruction of the airways which we refer to as chronic bronchitis. When this condition goes on for long, it can end up as malignancy or even kill the individual,” Green added.