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AML pays affected communities US$16, 377

-EPA Executive Director discloses

By Ethel A Tweh

The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, has disclosed that the magnitude of pollution caused by ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML’s) direct discharge of raw sewage into nearby wetlands by three communities within ArcelorMittal’s concession has been addressed by the mining company paying affected communities US$16,377.

Addressing a press conference at the EPA head office in Monrovia over the weekend, Prof. Tarpeh said that during a meeting with AML and the affected communities, the mining company hired an EPA-accredited third party consultancy firm to develop restoration plan and implement same under the supervision of the Agency within 60 days.

He said they also agreed that the area to be restored shall cover the wetland spanning from the point of sewage discharge to the confluence, and that ArcelorMittal Liberia shall also pay compensation to all affected farmers for damages caused to crops due to the pollution.

Prof. Tarpeh noted that EPA intervened for AML to provide alternative livelihood for all farmers currently using the polluted portion of the wetland, and repair damaged sewage lines in homes as well as provide at least one treated drinking water source for each of the affected communities Namely; Area A, Area Q and Camp 4, respectively.

As the result of EPA intervention, Arcelor Mittal Liberia has committed to providing immediate compensation to affected farmers for damages caused to their crops, utilizing the most recent crop price list from the Ministry of Agriculture, totaling US$16,377.

AML expressed appreciation to the EPA for its mediation efforts in amicably addressing the concerns of the community members. 

The direct discharge of sewage into the wetland resulted into microbial proliferation, causing a corresponding negative impact to surface water quality, also the portion of the wetland impacted spans from the point of discharge to the point of confluence. 

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The community also complained that the sewage discharge resulted into a eutrophic condition leading to overgrowth of vegetation that has impacted the productivity of certain crops planted within the wetland. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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