Sunday 13 January 2019

Fatberg and Sootberg

I was thinking this morning...... about the monsters we feed. During the week I read the Associated Press (AP) News where a British Official says a giant 'fatberg' measuring 64 meters (210 feet) long has been found blocking a sewer in southwestern England. 'Fatberg' is a term coined from 'Iceberg' to refer to a mass of hardened fat, oil and baby wipes. Andrew Roantree of South West Water says it will 'take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.' he urged the public not to pour grease down the drain or flush baby wipes down the toilet, adding; 'Don't feed the fatberg.'
As I reflected on this report, I was not interested in whether we have a similar challenge of blocked sewers in Nigeria because we do not have public sewers or underground drains in most cities. Everyone digs his own soak away pit and manages his 'shit.' Those who can't afford to have their own soak away pits, throw their wastes in open drains. yes, that is our lot. What however came to my mind was the parallel in our society, when I read his final statement, 'Don't feed the fatberg.' I recalled stepping out of the bathroom in my house in Port Harcourt and with wet bathroom slippers walked on the white tiles. When I looked behind me, with each step was a black patch on the floor. Wow! Black soot! Why do we still have this soot problem after so much protests to the government? What started as inconsequential effect of some youth engaging in illegal refinery (referred to as kpo-fire in the local parlance) have now become a major environmental challenge which I can now call a 'Sootberg.'
Now, because the NNPC-distributed kerosene and diesel don't get to a lot of communities in the riverine areas, whole communities get involved in 'kpo-fire' to run their lives and economy. They are feeding the sootberg. The community boys need to make fast money, so they damn the odds and move into the creeks to cook crude. They are feeding the sootberg. The security agents and politicians are involved. They collect 'tax' from the refiners, use them as political foot soldiers and turn the other way to allow them ply their illegal trade. They are feeding the sootberg. In all of these, the masses are the losers because in a few years the health effects of this pollution will be loud. I beg all those involved, save the lives of present generation and stop feeding the sootberg.
We feed the monster but know it not. Politics is here and it's been nothing but bitterness and intolerance. Rather than engaging in intellectual debate of their programmes, politicians are resorting to crude ways of winning. They believe, if they shut their opponents out from the public, their popularity will wane. So they violently resist their opponents from putting out their campaign posters or campaign in areas they control. You read reports like 'SDP agent stabbed in Kogi by suspected APC goons for pasting posters,' One killed in Rivers during fight over poster placement,' MC Oluomo stabbed, dozens injured as Lagos APC rally turns violent' and I am wondering, are we not feeding a monster here? In all of these, the disgruntled youths (scum of society) are the ones being used and I am saying, please don't feed the 'scumberg,' (not scumbag.)
Fatberg, sootberg and scumberg are modern day monsters that we must starve rather than feed. There may be many other monsters that are in your lives (lies, infidelity etc.) that I urge you to stop feeding but rather shatter their heads as was done in Psalms 74:13.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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