A monarch in the Ogale community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Harrison Odungwere, said on Tuesday that some residents of his area cook and bathe with bottled and sachet water following the contamination of the groundwater in the area.
Odungwere, who is the paramount ruler of the Mbunmeta community in Ogale, expressed sadness that residents of the area had continually consumed benzene contaminated water due to the absence of potable water in the community.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to provide potable water by industrialising its supply in the area, as private boreholes produced water laced with crude oil.
He said, “I have about 300 bags of sachet water, which we use for cooking and bathing, which will last my family a week. But those who can’t afford bottled or sachet water still drink, bathe and cook with the contaminated water.
“Our community is heavily impacted and polluted by hydrocarbons for the past 15 years or thereabouts.
“The Ogale people have been drinking highly polluted water and suffering until when the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project came up and started supplying potable water with tankers, which was a big relief that time until that programme failed.”
Odungwere added that though the Niger Delta Development Commission had dug one borehole in the area, where the residents access clean water, the supply was inadequate for the people.
“The NDDC has dug one borehole somewhere in our community for people go to fetch water, but it is not enough. We need an industrialised water supply system that will be connected to people’s homes in our community,” he stressed.