A cross session of environmentalists, on Thursday attributed the poor crop yield in the Niger Delta area of the country to the subsisting acidic rainfall.
The environmentalists, while speaking on environment degradation in Lagos, stated that acidic down-pour caused by gas flaring, was antithetical to biodiversity and threat to human habitat.
The Executive Director, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development, Dr Leslie Adogame expressed dismay on the continual degradation of the South-South zone of the country through oil exploration.
He called on the government to implement international protocol reached at ending gas flaring.
According to him, gas flaring practice which contaminates the ozone layer returns to the zone as acidic rainfall that clogged water percolation, reduction in soil nutrients, and biodiversity disequilibrium.
“Shrubs and economic trees are not left out in the environmental menace of acid rain as many of those rarely survive the chemicalised ecosystem.
“The situation is making the zone dependent on others in food because low yield is discouraging people to farm as a result of the arable but violated farmlands,” he said.
Acidic rainfall prevalent in Niger Delta
Similarly, the National President Nigeria Environmental Society of Nigeria (NES), Dr Dorothy Bassey, said that the acidic rainfall prevalent in and around Niger Delta region contributed to social strife in the area.
“With the heavy dependence of the people on farming when crops are affected, so produce is less as it leaches minerals from the soil.
“The people whose means of livelihood has been altered by environmental degradation have to look for a way of survival hence the social unrest by youths,” the NES boss said.
Bassey, who expressed concern over youth unrest in the area, urged the Federal government to expand the scope of its amnesty programme in the zone.
He said the expansion will also accommodate more youths especially the unemployed graduates to pacify the society and create an enabling environment for more private sector participation in the economy.
Prof. Edem Eniang, of the Biodiversity Preservation Centre Uyo, Akwa Ibom, said that acidic rainfall which contaminated the water bodies, adversely affected fishes and other aquatic species.
Eniang, who foresees further despair of the people, called on the government to compel oil exploration firms in the area to advance their community social responsibility to help the people with basic needs.
He noted that as the PH is low in the area as a result of gas emission, it makes the rain mixed with nitrous oxide acid that among other things corrodes roofing sheets.
Eniang explained that this further subjects the people to different types of skin diseases and stunted growth in children as a result of the presence of lead in domestic water.