Port Harcourt: Why is this Nigerian city covered in a strange black soot?

Story highlights

  • The soot has been in Port Harcourt for over two years

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)For more than two years, Saatah Nubari has woken up covered in a strange black soot.

There's been a literal cloud hanging over the southeastern city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. People's clothes have been covered in soot. The streets are covered in soot. Even residents' bed sheets are covered in soot.
"You're wiping your face with a handkerchief and everything is black. You're trying to clean your car and everything is black. Or you look at the soles of your feet and it is just pitch black," said Nubari, an environmental activist in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
    For the local people of Port Harcourt the soot is inescapable. It's made life hellish for residents.
    "It's had a wide range of impact on many things," said 25-year-old local resident Ebenezar Wikina.
    The region isn't unfamiliar to plumes of pollution. The Niger Delta is the country's oil producing region and there are many oil refineries nearby.
    However in the last few years, the situation has gotten much worse.

    What causes the soot?

    The skyline of Port Harcourt, in southeast Nigeria.