The NEWS (Monrovia)

29 January 2013

Liberia: Citizens Drink 'Polluted' Creek Water

The acute shortage of safe drinking water in Butaw District, Sinoe County, is creating problem for local people who claim rivers and creeks water have been allegedly polluted by Golden Veroleum Liberia.

They said if nothing is done to address the problem the situation could spark health hazard across the district.

Drinking water sources like rivers and creeks in several towns and villages in Butaw District have been dammed, polluted and or diverted allegedly by Golden Veroleum Liberia due to the company's operation in the area.

According to some Butaw District citizens, Golden Veroleum blocked the free flow of creeks and rivers, which once served as drinking water sources due to clearing of land in the district.

As a result of the clearing, creeks, rivers and streams that local people fetch water for drinking, have been contaminated as sticks and logs blocked the flow of water.

However, Golden Veroleum has denied the claim of contamination of water sources in the district.

The company's Manager stationed in the county, Jeff Benzin, said the accusation is not true.

He told The NEWS that the company is constructing hand pumps in the district and is also involved in the renovation of hand pumps across the district.

But Bestman Weagan, a farmer from Farley Town said they have no option but to drink from rivers and creeks polluted by Golden Veroleum.

He alleged that the company is yet to provide alternative drinking water sources for them.

Displaying a letter, Mr. Weagan claimed that the company has refused to build hand pump it said it would construct in the town.

He said the situation is creating health risk in Farley Town and called on government to institute measure to avert a possible outbreak of disease in Butaw.

For her part, Ruth Tugbe, a resident of Tugbe village in Butaw District said GVL has filled their creek which was a source of drinking water with mud and tree branches.

Madam Ruth, a mother of two noted that they are compelled to drink from the creek despite the pollution.

"We have no means. If we do not get water from here, we will not drink and cook," she said, pointing to the dirty creek.

Henry Jaryenneh, owner of Jaryenneh Town also stated that all drinking water sources have been dammed by GVL.

He noted that a manager at GVL admitted that the water has been contaminated and provided him water guard to treat water fetched from the contaminated creek, which passes behind the town.

Displaying empty bottle of the water guard, old man Jaryenneh noted that the medicine they used to treat the water has since finished.

"They have failed to provide a new one; forcing us to now drink poison," he said.

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