Marking this year’s World Water Day, Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) expressed concerned over the present pollution of Sierra Leone rivers, particularly the Taia River.
The day which was celebrated on Monday 22nd March, 2021 took place at the CCSL Headquarters Kingharman Road in Freetown.
CCSL maintained that during their fact-finding mission, they did an assessment of the polluted river from Matotoka and Magburaka (Pampana), Taiama (Taia) and Mattru Jong (Jong) and said they were appalled by the level of pollution.
The President of CCSL, Rev. Henry Samuels while addressing press men said the river use to serve as a source of livelihood (fishing and sand mining) for many, but that it no longer serves that purpose as a result of pollution.
“Fishes have been infected and sand deteriorated in quality. Women who used to plant vegetables on the riverbank can no longer do so. The river has gone brown in colour and the water level gone low. In addition to being a source of livelihood, it provides recreation for the villagers. They cannot swim on the river now,” he said.
Rev. Samuels furthered that the pollution is believed to have occurred as a result of excessive mining activities in the Tonkolili District around the source of the Pampana River.
He pointed out that as a Church, they believe that this is not what God desires for his people. To the contrary, God says: “Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there.
It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand fishing beside the sea it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.
But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary.
Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. (Ezekiel 47.9 – 12),” he referenced.
Rev. Samuels called on the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Water Resources; the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Mining Agency (NMA) to take urgent action to stop the pollution of the rivers, especially River Taia in order to save the lives of citizens as the protection of citizens is a right and not a favour.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “valuing water.” The value of water cannot be measured in monetary terms. Water indeed is life. This is not merely a slogan, but a reality.
Every human being is in need of water for survival. Thus, if people are denied of adequate supply of water, they are denied of life. Water is indispensable for human dignity. Provision of water is not a privilege offered to people, but the right of people.
The provision of safe and affordable water is a HUMAN RIGHT recognized in International Law, through Human Rights treaties and declarations that our various governments subscribed to.
It is therefore incumbent on all governments to see to it that clean, safe, accessible and affordable water is available for personal and domestic uses of the people it governs.
For any government to negate that responsibility is to violate the God-given right of God’s people, he expressed.