Cement dust killing Liberians

Belema community residents allege Cemenco factory creates serious health hazard for them
By our correspondent in Monrovia

Monrovia  - Residents of the Belema Community in Electoral District 12, Montserrado County in which the CEMENCO factory operates have complained of serious health danger that the cement factory is causing them. The residents said the presence of the factory is causing deaths, adding that nearly every week they are burying people who are dying as a result of the pollution from the company.

According to the chairman of the community, Mr. Morris Dukuly, industrial areas are supposed to be divided from residential places. He said the presence of CEMENCO in an area that is occupied by people is unhealthy.

Dukuly said that before a factory is constructed in any dwelling neighborhood, there is an environmental impact analysis, which he believes the management of CEMENCO did not do before their establishment in the Belema Community.

The chairman of the community board said that many of the residents have on numerous occasions, complained of the problem, which has caused some residents to die while some have also gone blind.

According to him, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights has mandated the management of the factory on several issues, stating, “One of the mandates of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights is to protect the rights of the citizens.”
According to him, the Commission pledged to ensure that the rights of residents of Belema and other communities are protected and respected.

Dukuly said that INCHR Commissioner, Mr. Torh promised residents that those who will get affected by the CEMEMCO operations will be taken to the hospital to be diagnosed and authenticate their conditions before taking further action on their plight.

“The Commission has started holding discussions with residents of the community and were informed that some of their family members died as a result of the cement dust,” the community chairman said.

Dukuly said that the INCHR has already concluded every arrangement with community dwellers a few weeks ago, and that has enabled them to begin legal action against the cement maker - CEMEMCO.

“Look at the dust on the zincs of the houses in the area and investigate it. If it would not be the cement dust from CEMENCO that is to tell you that CEMENCO is causing serious health hazard in the community,” Dukuly said. Seven people have claimed in the last few weeks that their family members have died as a result of the cement dust, he concluded.