Liberia: Protesting Against East Int'l - Marshall Community Residents Lament Damages From Rock Quarry Operations in Residential Area

Marshall City — Residents of Ben's Town in Marshall City have expressed frustration over the damage of their properties and the deteriorating health conditions of hundreds of community members as a result of the East China International rock quarry site located in the residential area.

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, residents of Ben's Town gathered to protest against the management of East China International at their construction site in Ben's Town, Lower Margibi County. They claimed that blasting rocks at the site had caused destruction to several homes, leaving crack marks on walls and causing citizens to suffer heart attacks.

The protesters, mainly property owners and led by many females, staged their protest at the mining site of the company in Ben's Town. They chanted slogans demanding that the Chinese company immediately cease work and relocate from their community due to the threats posed to their psychological well-being.

The group gathered as early as 9:00 am, expressing their dissatisfaction with the ongoing blasting from the construction site of East China, which had been destroying their properties for the past year. They gathered at various locations around the site, including the company's blasting spot, chanting protest songs and stating, "We do not want blasting, we are tired of suffering from sicknesses, and our homes are being damaged."

Madam Nancy Kortee, speaking on behalf of the group, stated that they had exhausted all necessary means of informing the government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the judiciary system. However, their efforts seemed to have been in vain, prompting them to fight for their rights through peaceful means by gathering to express their dissatisfaction with East China International.

Madam Kortee said in an interview with journalists who visited the site, "Beginning today, we are stopping them because there is no peace in our community, day or night, and this poses a serious health threat to us." She added, "Our kids are getting sick every day due to the pollution of our drinking water, and our houses are being damaged by the blasting. Our people are now developing high blood pressure from the sound of East China's machines, and we are hereby calling on the government to intervene promptly and relocate the company to an isolated area."

Madam Kortee, who claims to suffer from high blood pressure, stated that every time there is a rock blast in the area, her blood pressure increases, and she fears it may lead to death someday.

Ms. Josephine Harris, owner of one of the many beautiful houses in the area, stated, "I joined the protest today because the blasting is affecting our homes and the water we use. We are fed up and hoping the government will intervene this time."

After hours of protest, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) arrived at the scene to defuse tensions and promised to intervene in the situation.

The EPA team held a brief meeting with the affected residents of Ben's Town and assured the community that they would visit the site on Wednesday to conduct a feasibility study of the area in an effort to resolve the situation.

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