Liberia: EPA Assures the Senate of Government’s Intervention in River Poisoning in Cape Mount County

EPA Executive Director, Prof.Wilson Tarpeh

MONROVIA – The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the Agency has dispatched a 15-man delegation comprising scientists and specialists to Grand Cape Mount County with a mandate to investigate the situation of water poisoning.

Mr. Wilson Tarpeh made the disclosure when he appeared Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Lands, Mines, and Energy to answer inquiries about the situation in the county as it relates to water poisoning that has caused panic in residents of the areas.

According to Mr. Tarpeh, the team will investigate the situation, investigate the dead fishes and also investigate the extent of the pollution. “The team will also examine the type of chemical, and establish whether we have a record of such in our database of chemicals brought into the country.”

The EPA boss also told members of the Senate Lands, Mines Committee chaired by Senator Simeon Taylor of Grand Cape Mounty County the team will conduct a holistic investigation and any company found guilty will be fined in accordance with the law governing the EPA policy on chemical usage.

Also present at the hearing were, authorities from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Lands and Mines.

 In response to the Senate’s committee inquiry, they said they too have dispatched a team to the area to investigate the complaint and a report will be available the latest Monday for the public.

While the committee awaits a report from the investigation, Authorities of the Mines and Energy said, the concession agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and companies doing mining in that county allows them to use the river for concession works but not for disposing of waste, especially chemical waste.

In recent days, social media have been flooded with disturbing images of dead aquatic special including fishes as the result of a reported chemical spill that contaminated rivers and creeks in several communities in the Bea Mountain’s operating areas.

In one of the images, a lifeless dog can be seen in the water with a giant-sized dead scale fish. Another picture depicts a bundle of dead fish near water. According to the report, the chemical mistakenly entered the Mafa River which is used by about ten communities as the source of water for drinking, cooking, and washing.

It is said that residents of the affected communities have left for refuge in the wake of the incident.