Abstract: The primary objective is to investigate the role of radio in the campaign against soot pollution in Port-Harcourt. The research was anchored on Agenda Setting Theory and Social Responsibility Media Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted with a questionnaire as a data collection instrument. The data collected were analyzed using frequency and percentage while the data were presented with the aid of tables. Findings show that (75%) of the respondents claimed to be the awareness of the issue of soot pollution in Port Harcourt. Equally, (50%) of the respondents admitted that radio stations campaigns against soot pollution in Port-harcourt is high extent. Similarly, a majority of the respondents (80%) optimistic that radio has the power to influence public opinion and government action on the issue of soot pollution. It is recommended that radio programmes can invite environmental experts, health professionals, and government representatives to discuss the issue of soot pollution in Port Harcourt. These interviews and talk shows can provide insights into the causes of pollution, its effects on health and the environment, and possible solutions. Listeners can call in with their questions and concerns, fostering a sense of engagement and encouraging public participation.
Keywords: Soot Pollution
1.1 Background to the Study
Pollution is now in the dictionary of everyone now because we hear about it from radio, read about it through the mass media, social media and experience it in our real life. Air pollution in a layman meaning is a form of contamination of the air, irrespective of whether it takes place indoors or outside. It can also be described as a physical, biological or chemical alteration to the air in the atmosphere. It occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it difficult for plants, animals and humans to survive as the air becomes dirty.
Air pollution is said to occur when harmful substances such as particulates and biological molecules are introduced into air. This could result to diseases, allergies or even cause human death while it may also be harmful to other living things particularly animals, farms plants among other living organism (Wikipedia, 2017)
Today, men are faced with many hazards especially those in the cities and industrial areas due to many man-made activities that generate it, although some are natural. However, of all hazards affecting man today, air pollution has one of the greatest effect ever because it takes place in the air from which human rely for oxygen for survival. According to the WHO report in 2014, air pollution in 2012 alone caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide.
Anijah-Obi, Eneji, Ubom, Dunnamah and William (2013) observe that throughout the world, the problem of polluted environment has become a very disturbing phenomenon. Environmental problems plaguing the world are enormous. But perhaps the most serious and worrisome in Nigeria is the physical environment in terms of high population in the cities.
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2013) reveals that air pollution kills more Africans than other major risk factor in 2013 as statistics for premature-deaths from Air pollution scores 712,479 in 2013. Also, World Health Organization report on air pollution in 2016 named four Nigerian cities among 20 of the world’s worst-ranked cities for air quality (WHO, 2016) cited in (Kazeem, 2017).
However, for the purpose of this study, the scope of the air pollution will be tailored towards soot pollution which has become a common phenomenon today in the cities particularly in Port-Harcourt, the capital city of the Rivers state Nigeria. Soot can be described as an environmental contaminant that generated from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons such as the exhaust pipes of diesel trucks, smokestacks (Moms, 2015). Soot is often used for “particulate matter” or “particle pollution” and liquid droplets formed in our air from metals, acids, and chemicals like sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides that are emitted from power plants, industrial boilers, manufacturing, oil refining, motor vehicles, and wood stoves.
However, the increased rate of pollution especially soot pollution in Port Harcourt and many cities has become a major concern to the people in the area and visitors as the number of people at risk are also on the increase. This development has forced residents of Port Harcourt to complaining about increased soot residue on surfaces in and out of their homes. In response to the people’s outcry Nigeria government through her Ministry of Environment declared an air pollution emergency in the affected areas. The ministry find out that the soot indicated it was caused by “incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons” as well as “asphalt processing and illegal artisanal refinery operations in the area.
In a bid to curb the pollution, the ministry has shut down an asphalt processing plant operating in the area. The state government has also sealed off a Chinese company in the city for “aggravated air pollution, and breach of environmental laws.” However, the questions now are: how much do people know about the soot pollution in terms of the real causes, its effects, preventive measures, control strategies among other issues associated with the soot in the city because knowledge and awareness is the bed rock while seeking solution to a problem since adequate knowledge of the soot will equip people with the necessary things to do before, during and after exposure to soot and other air pollutions.
Similarly, one of the effective ways to reach out to the people is to use the mass media especially radio because of its flexibility as it appeals to only the sense of hearing which means messages and campaigns against soot can be received by the people wherever they are even while in the commercial bus, in their home, on the farm, office. Thus, if the soot effects will be controlled in Port Harcourt and other communities, there is need for the government, NGOs and other stakeholders to carry the mass media organisation alone especially in the ensuring that people actually aware of the effects, causes and preventive measures. It is against this background that this study examine the role of radio in the campaign against soot pollution in Port Harcourt the capital city of the Rivers State where close to 2 million Nigerians are believed to be residing.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Although, media role on environmental degradation and sanitations in Niger Delta often reported and researched into by the scholars, but at present, despite the danger in soot pollution, little or no research has been conducted on how the media can be employed in the campaign against the soot.
It should be recalled that environmental pollution has long been part of the daily lives among the people across oil-producing Niger-Delta communities due to the activities of the refineries and other oil and gas companies in the region. Although, it has become part and parcel of their daily life especially the oil spilling which they are still managing despite its effects on their farm lands and water ways etc.
However, the communities in the Niger Delta in the recent time often exposed to more danger and risk from what is called “black soot particles” in the air. For some years now, many residents of Port Harcourt are complaining about increased soot residue on surfaces in and out of their homes.
The risk and danger associated with soot pollution has made it a critical health and environmental issue calling for urgent action especially now that medical evidences have shown that soot causes cancer, lung disease, influenza, asthma, increased mortality rate, increases the risk of coronary artery disease and is the second-biggest human cause of global warming. It is against this background that the research examine the role of radio in the campaign against the soot pollution in Port Harcourt with the view to know how media come in, by educate, sensitise and enlightened on what need to be done and what has been done before.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary objective of this study is to investigate the role of radio in the campaign against the soot pollution in Port Harcourt. However, the specific objectives are:
- To examine the extent which radio stations broadcast programmes campaign against soot pollution.
- To ascertain whether radio stations in Port-Harcourt allot adequate airtime for the campaign against soot.
1.4 Research Questions
In order to explicate the aforementioned objectives, the listed questions provide answers to the research problem:
- To what extent are radio stations campaigns against soot pollution in Portharcourt?
- Do radio stations in Port-Harcourt allot adequate airtime for the campaign against soot?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significant of the study is to reveal to the entire world; the role expected of mass media especially radio station concerning soot pollution and environmental sustainability in general, since little is known about the effect of soot pollution on the human health, global warming, ozone layer and green houses gases.
Broadcast media and media practitioners will benefit from this research as it will enable them to know the responsibilities expected of them when it comes to sustainable environmental development particularly soot and other environmental pollution by developing programmes that will not only create enough awareness but also monitor government and non-government efforts towards eradicating soot and other environmental pollution especially in the cities where large number of people are victims.
Governmental and non-government will put all effort in place to prevent and eradiate soot and other environmental issues through media partnership and collaboration because information is power and radio is an effective media to reach out to almost everyone in the society due to it flexibility and because it appeals only to the sense of hearing while it is also a medium for the literates and illiterates.
The study will also expose citizen to the harmful effect of the soot pollution and what government are doing and can be done to if not eradicated but reduced while citizen will see reasons to voice their opinion against its causes usually from the oil producing companies around them. The findings of this study will serve as an eye opener to the general public on the need to always strive to keep their environment clean while they will be more conscious while going on their daily businesses and activities. Future researchers and students who may want to further research on similar work or related ones will find this material very useful to lay hand on.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study has been narrowed in scope through the research topic itself “Role of Radio in the Campaign against Soot Pollution”, therefore, the focus is on Port-Harcourt residents in Rivers State because the city often experienced soot pollution due to the presence of a refinery that flaring gases including the vehicular movement and usage of generators as alternative power sources. Other reasons for using Port-harcout is because the entire cities in Nigeria cannot be effective studied due to geographical structure while poor funding and time are other limiting factor. Therefore, demographic factor of the people residing Port-harcout such as education, age, sex, marital status and occupation will be examined before the structuring and administration of data collection instrument.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Role: This is the contribution or the impact of radio in creating awareness and educating people against soot pollution and related issues.
Radio: This is an electronic media of communication transmitting to a wider audience residing in different geographical locations simultaneously and it the most flexible of the mass media in the society.
Campaign Against: It entails various efforts and strategies developed towards preventing, educating and enlightening people of Port-harcourt against soot and other form of pollutions.
Soot Pollution: Soot is an airborne environmental contaminant from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons and it causes cancer, lung disease among other health implications.
Port Harcourt: This is a city and the capital of Rivers state, it is one of the busiest and host of many oil companies and refinery. Port Harcourt urban area has an estimated population of 1,865,000 inhabitants, up from 1,382,592 as of 2006.
“RADIO AND THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST SOOT POLLUTION IN RIVERS STATE“
Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 60, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes