By Kalada Jumbo
In a move to finally resolve the soot challenge facing the state, the Rivers State Government has set up a Technical Committee to implement the recommendations of the scientific committee established to investigate the prevalence of soot.
Briefing journalists after the Rivers State Executive Council meeting that took place on Wednesday at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Commissioner of Environment, Prof Roseline Kornya said that the State Government arrived at the decision after a detailed consideration of the report of the Scientific Committee.
She said: “The State Executive Council went ahead and appointed members of the Technical committee for purpose of the implementation of the report of the scientific committee.
“The technical committee is to be chaired by the Honorable Commissioner for Environment and other members are as follows, Prof Precious Edeh, Dr. Golden Ohana,the Honorable Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Commissioner of Water resources. Others are representatives of the IOCs. One each from Shell, Agip, Total, Petrol chemical, Port Harcourt refineries and NLNG.
“There will also be a representative of civil society ,as well as Engineer Juliet Ohunna, while the secretary of the committee will be nominated by the Ministry of Environment”.
The Commissioner said that the Scientific Committee discovered 12 sources of soot. She said that the Technical Committee will work towards addressing the sources of soot.
“The sources of soot are: refineries, fertilizer companies, illegal refineries, setting ablaze of illegally refined petroleum products by the military, tyre burning , gas flaring, meat roasting with used tyres, asphalt plants refuse burning among others”, she said.
Prof Konya said that the Rivers State Government has written to the Federal Government to work with the state to tackle aspects that fall within the purview of Federal Agencies .
Also speaking, Commissioner of Information, Emma Okah said that the issue of soot is topical and the Wike Administration is committed to resolving it.
He said that the Technical Committee would be inaugurated by the State Governor at the commencement of his second term.
He noted that the State Government will continue to work for the improvement of the environment.