The Federal Government on Monday declared the air pollution problem in Port Harcourt and its environs as an emergency situation that needed to be addressed urgently.
As a result, it issued a notice to temporarily shut down an asphalt processing plant in Port Harcourt that was oozing out thick smoke in a bid to bring the situation under control.
A statement by the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja stated that in a bid to urgently address the air pollution problem in Port Harcourt and its environs, the FME has declared the air pollution in the area an emergency situation.
The government stated that investigation to ascertain any other possible cause of the pollution in the area was ongoing.
The air pollution, which usually manifests in the form of soot, has been on for more than eight weeks and has impacted negatively on the air quality in Port Harcourt and its surroundings.
The ministry stated that it was aware of the attendant negative effects of the menace on the socio-economic, health and environmental activities of residents of the area, adding that this was why the Federal Government took a bold step by rallying all major stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The stakeholders, according to the statement, include the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health and the people of Rivers State.
The ministry explained that the sources of pollution were diffuse and anthropogenic or man-made in nature.