The Federal government is to set up a standing committee to work with relevant environmental stakeholders within Rivers state to bring a permanent solution to the unabated soot in the state.
Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Jubril spoke during a one-day stakeholders meeting held in Port Harcourt.
He disclosed that he had given National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement, NESREA two weeks to forward the report of the state environmental status to him for onward transmission to the President for further actions.
The Minister of environment also debunked the insinuations that the federal government had not shown concern about the soot.
“It is not that we do not know the issue. We know the issue but we came to Rivers state to meet those who are on the ground to further enlighten us.
“So we have agreed to set up a standing committee which will include those who are resident here in Port Harcourt especially the Ministries of Health and Environment. They will liaise with the people at the grassroots and give feedback.
“If the Federal government is not concerned about what is happening in Rivers state I will not be here. I will not invite the GOC and other security chiefs to this meeting.
“This issue is beyond sentiment. It is beyond politics. It is not a joke and we are treating it purely as an environmental issue,” he said.
Commissioner for Environment in Rivers state, Professor Roselyn Konya said the state was only waiting for action.
The issue of soot (black dust) has been ravaging the environment in Rivers state for over two years, leaving residents especially in Port Harcourt with lung related illnesses.