The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Sino-Liberia Violating Environmental Laws?

Reports reaching this paper say the “Sino-Liberia” licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) operating a sand mining company and a rock excavation within the Schieffelin Town Community in Margibi County is operating in violation.

The group named and styled the Movement Against Bad Labor practices, Imposed hardship, Injustices, and the protection of environmental alarmed that the company has embarked on destroying Wetlands hosting the mangrove swamp which is not part of the operation area given to them by the community as well as EPA licensed.

Mr. Philip Williams said, “We have been informed apart from the violation of Sino-Liberia to destroy the wetland hosting Mangrove trees within the Shieffelin Township, but they are also violating the Environmental & Management Law of Liberia.”

“They are also undermining the efforts of the Government of Liberia and some International organization like Conservation International that is working hard alongside the government to make the Schieffelin Town Wetland a protected area through efforts such as the conduct of Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Mapping, flagging and the signing of Conservation Agreement with the community which have already been initiated and soon to be completed,” Williams complained.

He alleged that Sino-Liberia is illegally operating overnight to mine the sand at the same time destroying the wetland and the environment due to the protection of some wicked and self-interest government officials in and out of the county.

“As we speak, Sino-Liberia has started to encroach on the wetland thus destroying huge components of the Mangrove which is gravely in violation of Part VI: Guidelines and Standards for the Management of the Environmental and Natural Resource,” he stated.

Subsection 75 Titles, ‘Protection of Rivers, Lakes and Wetlands,’ which states, not in so many words but in effect as “Subject to subsection, no person shall in relation to a river, lake, or wetland carry out any of the following activities: use, erect, construct, place, alter, extend, remove or demolish any structure in, on, under, or over the bed; excavate, drill, tunnel or disturb the bed otherwise; introduce or plant any part of a plant, plant specimen or organism whether alien or indigenous, dead or alive in a river, lake or wetland; introduce any animal or micro-organism whether alien or indigenous, dead or alive in a river, lake or wetland; deposit any substance in a river, lake, or wetland or in or under its bed, which is likely to have adverse environmental effects on the river, lake or wetland among others.

He said understanding the gravity of the danger the action of Sino-Liberia posed to the wetland areas, they are calling on the community leaders, Margibi CSOs, the media in Margibi, the county’s lawmakers as well as the EPA to promptly intervene in order to avoid further destruction of the wetland by Sino-Liberia and as well instill disciplinary action against said company as required under subsection six that if “any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection” it is a conviction liable to a fine not exceeding US$ 5,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both.

However, when contacted, the Operations Manager of Sino-Liberia, Lawrence Kruah, said because of the confusion between the company and the locals, the EPA has placed a stay-order on their operations but he admitted that they were given a one-year permit by the same EPA to engage into rock crushing after which the company decided to do sand mining at the same site.

He stated, among other things, that it is because of this, some residents in the township have begun having problem thereby accusing the company of abusing wetlands which is contrary.

He explained, “It is the same EPA that gave Sino-Liberia the permit to crush rocks but having exhausted that, the company decided to engage into sanding mining; and it is for this action prompted that the residents have called for an independent investigation.

“We are not afraid because we are not in violation of the Environmental Law of Liberia therefore we will abide by the stay-order and await the finding from the independent investigation,” Kruah told this paper last night.

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