A few days ago I was shocked to hear the news report – Acid rain set to fall in Nigeria between March 23 and March 28. DO NOT go outside or else you risk getting skin cancer! Now, what I love about Nigerians is that most of them generally like to panic and spread bad news fast. They don’t always try to do a little research before taking the next course of action. The average Nigerian’s depiction of ‘Rain’ is ‘Water that falls from the sky’. ‘Acid’ on the other hand is regarded as ‘a dangerous chemical that can burn and damage your skin permanently’. Put the two perceptions together and what do you have? Burning skin + holes in umbrellas = A recipe for a national state of emergency.
Needless to say my sister called me from the UK this evening and asked if I heard the news too. She said her friend had asked her if she heard about it, to which she responded, ‘Acid rain? Is that a new nightclub? (lol, I would have probably thought the same thing if I was a still a Uni student but I doubt that any Nigerian nightclub would gather up so much national or international acclaim). I decided to do a little research of my own and this is what I came up with from http://www.epa.gov/acidrain :
“Acid rain” is a broad term referring to a mixture of wet and dry deposition (deposited material) from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released from power plants and other sources, prevailing winds blow these compounds across state and national borders, sometimes over hundreds of miles.
There was a lot more scientific mumbo-jumbo which I left out but what Nigerians would REALLY like to know is the effects acid rain would have on them and their possessions. The same information source revealed that acid rain could have an adverse effect on the following: Lakes, Streams and Aquatic animals; Forests; Vehicle coatings; Building materials and Paint; Visibility (clarity of the air); and most importantly, Human health.
The link goes on to explain how acid rain looks, smells and tastes just like normal rain water (that isn’t too encouraging). The problem is that the compounds in the rain could be harmful if ingested (and I’m not talking about burning throats). There was therefore a news alert put out by the Lagos State Government stating that people should not drink the impending acid rain and that this weather change would be hazardous for people with asthma and respiratory diseases. But I’m not buying any of this bullshit. Why? A Nigerian expert, Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin, has debunked the ludicrous idea, explaining that black people need not worry about skin cancer caused by acid rain as our skin pigmentation prevents this. He went on to say that only those who bleached their skin in a bid to become more beautiful should do the worrying (sucks to be them!). My conclusions were drawn by the time I heard the latest report on the radio that quashed the acid rain scare.
What a great hype. I’m kinda disappointed in a way because I was thinking this could be the beginning of an action-packed, disaster movie where Crazy Nigerian is the hero who is dodging acid rain drops (Matrix style, of course) whilst driving at death-defying speeds of 200 mph in my Jet black Chery car, running over zombie-like acid rain victims and chasing a gigantic acid rain cloud that is heading towards my girlfriend whose not picking up her phone (because she’s probably listening to her mp3 player) and is laid out in a bikini on the beach. VROOM VROOM, Crazy Nigerian to the rescue!