By: Jeremiah Cooper
Grand Cape Mount County,Liberia: The Marvoe Creek, Mafa River and other bodies of water have been heavily polluted due to the constant dumping of toxic chemical substances from the Bea Mountain Mining Company operations in Grand Cape Mount County.
This has left local community residents along the multi-national mining company devastated due to the unavailability of safe water in their community for usage. The polluted water sources continue to cause suffering and health hazards to residents especially women, thus affecting their ability to carry on fishing.
This situation affects their earnings and provision for their families.
The dumping of the toxic substances by Bea Mountain into rivers and creeks, has also damaged the ecosystem, resulting to the death of marine species and health complications among residents.
Dead fishes have been seen floating on the Marvoe Creek and Mafa River, which has alarmed locals of the unsafe nature of the water, forcing them to find different sources of survival.
According to the affected women in the area, since the pollution of the Marvoe Creek and Mafa River, life is becoming unbearable. Additionally, they noted that they have had to travel for two to three daily to fetch drinking water from nearby towns and villages.
“I no longer have access to safe drinking water. I have to walk a great distance to get water. My rice farm which is my source of livelihood has been destroyed and I can no longer send my children to school. My father lost his sight from using the polluted water.” Siatta Fahnbulleh, a resident of Korma-Weajah community, Cape Mount County said.
Another resident named Luis Jackson emphasized that ‘’My mother is paralyzed because of the water. The people (Bea Mountain) are mining in our water while we are not benefiting. They think that we don’t have anyone to talk for us. My eye got damaged because I used the water to wash my face. We are dying slowly’’.
Also, Musu Kromah, a resident of Gbarmie Town, Grand Cape Mount County stressed ‘’ I am a victim of this unlawful act by the Bea Mountain Mining Company. I lost my son because he ate fish that had died from the chemical they (Bea Mountain) dumped in the water. We cannot send our remaining children to school because our crops have died due to this same chemical’’.
With such a patriarchal system, the women bear the brunt of the negative effects with no one to come to their aid.
Residents of the affected communities jointly called on the government of Liberia to come to their aid. They want the government of Liberia to initiate a better concession agreement that will foster development and promote the well-being of those living along the Bea Mountain Mining Company.