February 17, 2021
By Jariatu S. Jusu
The Sierra Leone People’s Party Member of Parliament, Hon. Alice Kumabeh of Constituency 92, Bonthe District, has called on Parliament to swiftly intervene and address what she referred to as massive pollution of Taia River, a development that has exposed her constituents to danger.
She said people residing at the Teya River line community have complained to her about the pollution of the water which they use for domestic and other purposes.
“As I speak, because of the mining activities taking place at an unknown community, huge toxic waste are being deposited in the river which is greatly affecting my people. The toxic waste dumped in the river had caused it to be contaminated and people no longer use it for domestic purposes or drink it. The fish are dying and the bigger ones have disappeared. People living in that part of the community depend on fishing and their activities have greatly been affected,” she said.
She cited the outbreak of diarrhoea in the community as one of the health hazards that is currently bedevilling the community.
“Let me give you a statistics to justify what I have just said about the pollution that has affected my people. We have a total population of 8,770, of which 7,495 are adults and 1,251 are under-5 children. We have recorded cases of the disease with 53 adults and 75 under-5 children affected. We also have a total number of 10 deaths, of which 7 were under-5 children while 3 are adults,” she said.
She noted that the mining company should not be making money at the detriment of her people.
“I want to crave the indulgence of this house, especially you Mr. Speaker, for your timely intervention on this particular matter. We want to know which mining company is involved in this wicked act. Let them realize the damage they have caused in the lives of my people and to make sure they pay for those damages. They should also stop polluting the river, otherwise, we are envisaging a bigger disaster in that part of the country,” she explained.
According to Chairman of the Mines and Minerals Committee, Hon Emerson Lamina, the MP had notified him about the issue and that he told her to investigate the name of the mining company operating in that part of her constituency, but that nothing was done in that direction.
On his part, Presiding Speaker, Hon. Segepor S. Thomas, assured that a special select committee will be set up to conduct an oversight tour to get first-hand information on the aforementioned matter.
He said the committee should make sure to inform the leadership of Parliament on the issue and that the National Minerals Agency should be summoned so as to provide the name of the mining company operating in that part of the country.