Locals Demand Environmental Cleanup – China Union Plans Restart
Locals Demand Environmental Cleanup – China Union Plans Restart.
“We drink water from a well that is muddy, because China Union has polluted our creeks with their chemicals,” says Oldman Sackie, born in 1946, 20 years before the mining began in the area."
China Union’s 25-year Mineral Development Agreement with the Liberian government required the company to contribute US$3.5M to the counties of Bong, Montserrado and Margibi each year in a Social Development Fund that was to be spent on county infrastructure improvements including water and sanitation projects, clinics and schools.
Since the company pulled out, residents of affected towns and villages say the water pollution has increased, leaving the inhabitants with no choice but to continue drinking waters from polluted creeks.
“But the company has polluted the water.
Sometimes the water can run people stomach (diarrhea), but we are still drinking the water because we do not have any other choice.” In nearby Bloumue Town, Chief Sekou Sumbai says residents are also suffering from similar issues, drinking from a nearby creek that is in the same condition as that of Neploleh Kollie Town.
"They would have said ‘If our water will be polluted during your operations, then we need an alternative source of drinking water,’” said Speare “The environmental degradation in these towns and villages is so huge, you see the sewage pipes of the company, emptying into the various water bodies in these towns and villages located under the mines."
The government agency responsible for oversight, the National Bureau of Concessions, says that it inspected the operations of the company a few months after it began and before they pulled out, and found out that it was not operating in accordance with the agreement regarding pollution and environmental degradation.
The Superintendent’s office has refused to turn the money over to my district office.
“We do not see what development is being done with the money, but if the money was given to my office, we would have built hand pumps and provided safe drinking water for the people."