Liberia: Beverage Production Company Shut Down

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its statutory responsibilities to regulate environmental issues for safety and penalize violators, has shut down a beverage production company, S.S.S. Private Ltd.

The decision to shut down the company took a series of negotiations to convince S.S.S. Private to comply, but the EPA said all efforts exerted were downplayed. "We cited them on December 27, 2018; they refused to participate in the meeting. We invited them again on February 14, 2020 and February 22, 2020 respectively; they again refused to come, neither did they write an excuse," said EPA Acting Executive Director Randall Dobayou.

The EPA, according to its Acting Executive Director Randall Dobayou, assessed the facility of S.S.S Private Limited and uncovered that the company was operating under unsanitary condition; discharging effluent (polluted water coming from washing materials such as bottles) directly into the environment without treatment and approval.

Additionally, the EPA disclosed on September 25, 2020 that S.S.S. Private in Brewerville, rural Montserrado County, was caught in "Unsustainably stockpiling wastes including tires, metals, and plastics in the back of its facility, which do not only pollute the specific environment but other nearby areas as chemical from those materials can easily be washed in the stream.

"The used water is treated by reverse osmosis system and U.V. to rinse bottles; however, the rinse bottles are packed manually with hands in empty crates and cartons that were seen exposed; they have also refused to pay the US$1,000 we dined them few months ago," said Acting Director Dobayou.

Many a time violations in relation to environment and social issues are committed, but the complacency of regulating institutions to make real their enforcement sometimes make the violators to ignore their instructions.

Reacting to this concern while releasing the shutdown of S.S.S. Private Ltd, Director Dobayou said "This is not the 'as usual' case. S.S.S. Private Limited is further warned that this shutdown order shall remain enforced until it is proven that their new sustainable production plan is submitted to the Agency for approval."

The shutdown order which began the very day of receipt of the communication sent to the company, noted that the management of S.S.S. Private Ltd shall not use its current facility for which this shutdown order is placed to conduct any operation pertaining to production of alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages.

Assuring the public of his institution's commitment to upholding the shutdown, Mr. Dobayou said the EPA, despite the challenges, is present in the 15 counties with inspectors deployed to ensure the enforcement of regulations and punish the agency institutes.

He confidently indicated that as a result of their punitive actions taken against non-compliant companies and institutions, many water companies that were not licensed are now pulling in for licenses, and they are complying with the EPA's mandate.

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