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CICO’s waste pollutes wells, creeks

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Wastes, including chemical fluids from the Chinese International Construction Company or CICO have contaminated wells and creeks in Cinta Township, electoral district#5, Margibi County, leaving hundreds of community residents affected.

The pollution has left the affected area without safe drinking water, claiming the attention of county authorities, including the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. Our Margibi correspondent, who toured the entire area, said residents have abandoned wells in the county because harmful wastes from the company directly flow into them, causing serious contamination and hazard.

Crops, vegetables, fishes and other marine lives from nearby creeks are also being affected, threatening livelihood of the people. In some of the areas, dead fishes are seen floating on the water, while grass lies dead as a result of contaminated fluids from CICO’s fence.

CICO is a Chinese company hired by the World Bank to rehabilitate the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway. The company is currently based in Cinta Township. In an interview with this paper recently, one of the affected residents only identified as Suamanna, said he has resulted to buying mineral water for himself and his family, adding that the entire area is crying the same cry.

He confirmed that crops and vegetables are being damaged and the situation is worsening daily. Other residents lamented, “We don’t have any means of getting water now; Oh CICO, why do you treat us like this.”
When contacted, the Safety Manager at CICO, Kelvin E. Clarke, regretted the pollution, but emphasized that it is not something done deliberately by the company.

He said the CICO management never expected the waste to have spilled out of the fence into the environment, contaminating food and wells. However, Clarke promised to meet with the community dwellers to find a common ground on how to speedily address the problem.

By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi –Edited by Jonathan Browne

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