Residents are worried about their respective properties and the condition of the three-leg bridge under which the sand mining is ongoing

The only two-lane bridge over the Junk River that connects the Roberts International Airport (RIA) with Monrovia is now in danger as a result of alleged sand mining in the river, residents have informed the Daily Observer.

The leadership of the community, represented by Atty. George Kailondo told a team of investigative reporters over the weekend that sand mining is threatening the life-span of the bridge, his multi-million dollars residential area, the Baracuda entertainment center and other facilities in the area.

Atty. Kailondo has meanwhile expressed frustration over the situation, adding, “This has to stop or else the ELWA/RIA highway will eventually encounter a sudden closure when the bridge over this Junk River collapses.”

While pointing in the direction of the many cracks on the wall of his house and the foundation of the fence around the house, Atty. Kailondo said the sand mining has continued to the extent that even the habitat of crocodiles may have been destroyed, exposing them and the fish to extreme danger.

“The sand is so much under the river so the Chinese-owned company involved in the exercise uses many other sand compressors to navigate the river as a means to suck mostly the rich portion of it,” said an ‘environmentalist’ who did not want to be identified, but was hired by Kailondo and the other residents who claimed that their properties are being affected by the exercise.

Mr. Prince Johnson (the son of the late D. Roosevelt Johnson) the general manager of the Goodrich Incorporated, a company that is at the center of the alleged sand mining, denied reports of the danger affecting the river and the neighborhood.

He said “We gave the Chinese company the legal right to mine sand in the Junk River and their mining sand is not putting any property as well as the bridge as risk.”

He told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that his company obtained a permit from three concerned government agencies including the Liberia Environmental Agency (EPA).

“I can’t respond to whatever claims an individual may have against my company for mining, because I was duly licensed. So whatever issue Mr. Kailondo and his people have, let them take it to the government and those agencies including the EPA, but not to me,” Mr. Johnson said and hung up.

Kailondo claimed he has earlier complained to the authorities of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME).

His claim could not be confirmed by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy Public Relations Director, Joseph Matadly. Mr. Matadly said since reporters called him to confirm the report he would take up the issue this week.

However, he said companies doing river sand mining are duly registered with the government, except for those doing beach mining.

“As of the bridge or properties being affected, I cannot speak to that, but will take up the issue Monday, to the director of mines at the ministry,” Mr. Matadly assured the Daily Observer yesterday.

Aloysius K. Kotee, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Manager for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Unit, could not be reached as his phone was switched off throughout the weekend, but an official in his office promised to provide appropriate response on the issue.

“I will inform Mr. Kotee to launch immediate investigation into the concerns of the residents,” the EPA source said.

Authors

3 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that sand mining on the RIA road in the Junk River bridge could have a future potential effects on the RIA road and should be a reason to restrict or ban sand mining under the Junk River bridge. Mr. Johnson have no geological knowledge nor is he an expert on environmental protection to make statement that he thinks sand mining by his corporation have no negative impact on the road. Let the Ministry of Land Mines and Energy and EPA launch an immediate investigation into this concern of Mr. Kailondo and other residents of that area.

  2. We live in a society where ignorance, greed and lack of respect for “The Public Good” blind individuals to the future dangers and other externalities of their actions and the activities they engage in today. As the previous writer said, Mr. Johnson who may be nothing but a Front Man for the Chinese enterprise has no academic knowledge or professional background in such matters yet he made anb emphatic statement that the “sand mining activities pose no risks to properties in the area and the bridge”. That being said Iet me highlight another point Mr.Johnson made which is that the Chinese firm got its license and other business registrations from the relevant government agencies. How painful and pitiful. This country is up for sale. Buyers, sellers, brokers and government agencies are all in a grind to maximize proceeds. Last time I was home, drove by the bridge and saw what was going on, I sighed. For Liberians who either may not know or chose to forget Bomi Hills, Stockton Creek bridge (Freeway), Old Waterside bridge, let them remember that you live under the roof of a structure called “Liberia” and whatever damage you are doing to its foundation, walls and roof will benefit or haunt you in the future. And just in case you take an early exit, it will await your decendants

  3. Sands Mining operations; near this very important BRIDGE, must stop.Immediately! Certainly, sand Mining is undermining the foundation of the bridge. The vibrations from heavy equipment used in this mining operation, is also another major problem; that may gravely affect the bridge. The situation is like digging a massive ditch near a major strupture. It’s only a matter of time; that structure may collapse. Now, that’s common sense. One doesn’t have to be a “ROCKET SCIENTIST”, to understand. Our thanks and appreciation to Mr. Kailondo; for his smart thinking and alerting the proper authority.

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