6 December 2012

Liberia: Dumpsite Contaminates Wells in Whein Town

Residents of Whein Town Community in District #4, Montserrado County, have challenged the Liberian government to provide safe drinking water to their area.

The residents, through their Dirt Situation Committee Chairman, Terrance Sackie, said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf promised to send technicians from the Ministry of Public Works to assess the water situation in the community but that is yet to happen.

President Sirleaf made the promise when she visited the community in July this year when encountered the 'harsh reality' of the living condition of the Whein Town Community residents.

The President's promise came after she had noticed that the water being used for drinking in the community had turned 'green' due to contamination of wells caused by waste at the dumpsite established in Whein Town by Monrovia City Corporation (MCC).

According to the residents, President Sirleaf also promised that the government would assist the community with few hand pumps, a promise which they said is yet to be fulfilled.

They noted that they are more vulnerable now than before because of the dry season, during which the wells are dry and the water is highly concentrated with chemicals and toxins from the dumpsite.

When contacted for comments on the residents' concerns, Montserrado County District #4 Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh promised to get back to this writer claiming that he was in a meeting.

Meanwhile, residents of Whein Town continue to suffer the negative health effect of severe headache and skin rashes from long exposure to air pollution of toxins and other harmful chemicals. They are also consistently falling ill of malaria due to high concentration of mosquitoes in the community, and diarrhea as a result of the use of contaminated water for cooking and drinking.

Recently, several media outlets reported the poor general environmental, sanitary and health situations the people of Whein Town faced.

When this writer contacted the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Madam Vohiri, she disclosed that the EPA had received a communication about the Whein Town situation, but added that she could not make political statements.

Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights states: "that all peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favorable to their development."

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