By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Residents of Car Wash, Lofa Community, Mount Barclay, on the outskirts of Monrovia alarm of alleged pollution from the operation of Rajia International Trading or RITCO Distillery in their community.
Ritco Distillery, producer of alcoholic beverages in Liberia, is said to have recently embarked on a new venture to manufacture engine oil, through melting and recycling of chemicals, thus causing air pollution.
Community residents lament that fumes and dust from a long pipe elevated from within RITCO Distillery’s premises are polluting their environment.
They call on government (GOL) through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have the factory relocated.
Community Chairman Arthur Byron Vaye, Sr, narrates that the pollution allegedly caused by the company began over three weeks ago, when they noticed a long pipe elevating from the RITCO facility in the area.
Chairman Vaye continues that community dwellers have continuously complained to him about the suffocation they suffer in their homes as a result of the pollution, mostly affecting children and led to a one-year-old child bleeding from the nose.
When contacted, the Management of Ritco disclaims that though the proposed oil company is situated within RITCO facility, it is owned and operated by a totally different management.
James T. Kollie, a block chairman, told the NEW DAWN, the pollution occurs when the company switches on its plant, something, he notes, is causing serious threats to their health.
According to Kollie, the manufacturing plant for the proposed oil factory emits fumes into the air that have driven few residents to relocate to nearby Barnesville.
“They are killing us; women, children and others have been continuing to complain, while some families have recently relocated to Barnesville for rescue due to the harmful effects from the Factory”, he explains.
When contacted, Bishop Stephen Collins, who is said to be General Manager of RITCO Distillery Liberia, referred this paper to the company’s Public Relations Officer identified as Edwin Chea Jr.
Mr. Chea says management is concerned about the situation, and will respond subsequently, pending medical report of an unidentified child in the community said to have been affected.
However, he adds that if there is any pollution, the company remains apologetic to residents of the area.
He confirms that there is a pending production of engine oil at the facility, but clarifies that operation has started yet, contrary to claims from the residents. Editing by Jonathan Browne