Liberia: Bea Mountain Is Playing Game

editorial

It is unfortunate and highly incomprehensible that Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) that had contacted the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct sample test of water from the Marvoe and Mafa Rivers in Grand Cape Mount County to establish cause of death of several marine species and a dog would categorically reject and disagree with preliminary findings released by the EPA.

Preliminary scientific investigation conducted by EPA technicians and scientists downstream and upstream of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) operations in the county traced plausible source (s) of pollution of the rivers that might have caused the death of marine species and a dog that reportedly ate some of the dead species.

BMMC vehemently rejects the findings on grounds that the degree and extent of testing conducted so far are inconclusive and filled with analytical gaps. "Our disagreement is further supported by the fact that the EPA itself has called for further investigations (and the EPA's opinion that its test results for Cyanide are far below what is required to cause fatality)", the company says.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency says it stands by its preliminary findings on the water pollution in Grand Cape Mount County, categorically stating that the findings were based on scientific analysis and data collected by well-trained technicians and scientists in the field.

Though the Agency's trace of plausible sources of pollution did not directly point to BMMC, the company cleverly seems to be exerting frantic effort to avoid taking blame, if there would be any, for something that risks affecting human lives eventually, if not speedily and properly addressed.

Both sides disagree on the initial findings, but they seem to concur on the need to involve independent third-party institutions into next phase of the investigation that the BMMC says it remains cooperative to establish the fact.

What is not in dispute however is that the rives have suffered pollution of some kind to the extent that the Management of BMMC is providing host communities alternative sources of protein and drinking water, while distancing itself from any future responsibility.

This is where the Government of Liberia should strengthen its scrutiny of the situation by leading vigorously thorough investigations to establish actual source (s) of the spill of Cyanide into the Marvoe and Mafa Rivers. We caution the authorities both nationally and locally to not slack the investigations for any reasons.

It has been observed around the world that big corporations are always in denial and do not easily accept responsibility for industrial incidents that affect humans and the environment like in the case of Shell Nigeria.

Consequently, we commend the EPA for the preliminary findings and reiterate our previous call to the Agency to leave no stone unturned in scientifically getting to the bottom of the current threats in Grand Cape Mount County in order to allay all fears and avert the loss of human lives.

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