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Disease risk as Amudat gold miners share water source with animals

Children fetch water as the cows also take from the same point in Amudat district (PHOTO/File).

AMUDAT – Gold miners in Kabisha and Chepkarat parishes in Karita Sub County in Amudat district are forced to share contaminated rainwater on the seasonal rivers with wild animals due to scarcity of water points in the area.

In a visit by PML daily on 30th of  Friday, August in Chepkarat gold mining site, the same water source that resident’s drink is also contaminated by mercury which residents use for mining gold.

The miners explain that they survive on dirty unprotected water from rivers because they have no any other source of water where they can get clean water.

Mr. Patrick Cherito one of the miners in Chepkararat said the situation has rendered residents particularly the miners to be vulnerable to water-borne diseases.

“We are enduring to live in this situation because of poverty but otherwise if we were also in position to feed our families while at home we would have not subjected ourselves into this situation,” he said.

Joyce Chemutai other miners said from the beginning of March this year six expectant mothers have got miscourraged due to various diseases caused by drinking dirty water.

“We are forced to drink this water because we have no any other option, no borehole it’s just like,” She said.

Ms. Chemutai said most cases animals especially baboons grab jerrycans of water from women to give to their young ones and even beat women if men are not in the water source.

Over 30,000 people from various part of the country are currently engaged in gold mining in Kabisha and Chepkarat parishes in Karita Sub County in Amudat. Most of these miners use mercury which they it simplifies their work in getting gold.

Sarah Nangiro a miner said they buy one kilogram of mercury at shs 400,000 from the Indians who buy their gold.

She explains that one kilogram of mercury someone can get a gold that can be sold at shs 700,000 to 1million,”he said.

Ms Sophie Nangiro the coordinator of Safer world an organization dealing in sensitizing the miners their rights told PML daily on 30th of August that they have tried to sensitize the miners to stop using mercury but they don’t want to stop.

“We are still trying to engage the miners to stop using mercury because it’s the cause of expectant mother’s n getting miscouragement,” she said.

Mr. Francis Kiyonga the Amudat district chairperson appeal the team from the environment to intervene saying the situation was getting out of hand.

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