By Ebele Orakpo
Kai, Nigerians love life. Nigeria no good, Nigeria no good, yet none of us is willing to die and depart from this sinful worldâ€. This was how Mr. Kennedy set the ball rolling in the Friday morning Lagos traffic in reference to the heavy downpour the previous day in some parts of the metropolis.
People were afraid and it showed in their actions. As soon as the rains started, there was pandemonium as people ran for safety to escape from the â€˜evilâ€™ rain.
â€œWhat do you mean by that?â€ asked Lola.
â€œYou needed to see what happened Thursday at Ogba, I witnessed it live,â€ continued Kennedy. â€œOne particularly funny case was a woman with her baby strapped to her back, shouting and crying and begging God to spare her life and that of her baby as if she was about to drop dead from acid burns.â€
â€œDo you blame her? When the rumours have been making the rounds about this acid rain, of course people are bound to be afraid.â€
â€œBut the fears were allayed by the relevant authorities, yet people were still afraid. Is it that they did not believe the experts?â€ asked Nkechi.
â€œItâ€™s possible that many did not get to hear the reports from the experts because they were either on television or radio and as usual, there was no power supply from PHCN and as for the newspapers, how many can afford to buy them?â€ noted Okon.
â€œThat is not the issue. The thing is that bad news travels faster and takes deeper root than good news; so people would rather hold tenaciously to the bad news. Again, we are so gullible. We tend to believe anything without question. We swallow any information hook, line and sinker without questioning its authenticity. It is a pathetic situation. Itâ€™s like we have been conditioned not to use our brains,â€ noted Lola.
â€œAcid rain has been with us and it is not harmful to human beings. Just because there is acid in the name does not make it harmful. I read what the experts said about acid rain. They said it comes from certain chemicals and gases being pumped into the atmosphere by industries, power plants and also exhaust from vehicles,â€ said Kennedy.
â€œSo it is the price we have to pay for industrialisation?â€ asked Okon.
â€œOf course! We canâ€™t eat our cake and have it but there is always a way out. We can switch to cleaner sources of energy like the rest of the world is doing,â€ said Nkechi.
â€œBut come to think of it, people are indeed funny. How do they think that pure acid will fall as rain? That means no living thing will survive to tell the story. The report I read also said that acidity is measured on a pH scale of 0-14. pH of 7 is neutral, pH of 1-6 is acidic while pH above 7 is alkaline. pH of 0-1 is really acidic.
Normal rainwater has a pH of about 5.6 but when it goes below 5.6, it is considered acid rain,â€ lectured Kennedy. Continuing, he said: â€œAcid rain is not new. It has been with us and affects plants, roofs, vehicles etc and as for cancer, cancer specialists have said it does not cause skin cancer or any form of cancer for that matter.â€
â€œSomeone just decided to play a fast one on us. Whether the text message emanated from the service providers, no one knows but the fact remains that they have made their money because I am very sure that the text messages were not sent free of charge, and thousands of people would have been recipients.â€
â€œIf indeed the rainwater was so acidic, the cars that were in the rain would have been corroded but no such thing happened.â€
â€œI think it was just the heavy dust that we have been experiencing in the past one week that is coming down as rain. Anyway whatever it was, thank God it was not corrosive,â€ concluded Nkechi.