Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Abia State Government says it has ordered full investigation into the cause of contamination and death of aquatic lives in Aro Ajatakiri, Ajata-na-Igu Autonomous Community stream in Ikwuano Local Government Area.
A statement issued by the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Philemon Ogbonna, said the probe followed the sudden discovery of colouration in the stream, and death of fishes.
The statement cautioned locals against further use of the stream for any purpose “until the investigation is concluded.”
According to a community source, activities of fishermen who use chemicals for fishing, are possible suspects.
But the Traditional ruler of the community, King Larry Agwu, who confirmed the development, however, said they were not sure of the actual cause of the contamination.
He pleaded with Government to come to their rescue as the stream is the major source of water for his people.
Meanwhile, Government said it would not like to base its action on speculations but on scientific findings, hence the investigation first.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read: “It has come to the notice of the Abia State Government through the Ministry of Environment, that the Aro Ajatakiri Community stream situate and lying at Aro Ajatakirt, in Ajate-na-Igu Autonomous Community in Ikwuano LGA of Abia State has been contaminated and unfit for human consumption and use.
“In furtherance of this report of the above stated health hazard, the Ministry of Environment, Abia State wishes to inform the members of the said community and the general public to desist henceforth from making further use of the community stream, pending the investigation and feasibility study of the stream and its area which is currently being carried out by the state Ministry of Environment.
“Please be guided accordingly and ensure total compliance. Investigation is still on. We want to establish it. We don’t want to base it on suspicion. The team investigating it is already doing that.
“The water colour changed to something else that is not what it used to be. The investigating team went there and interacted with the community members who informed them that fish were dying in that stream and some fish ponds were affected by their fish dying.
“So, by that, the water has been contaminated and we are trying to establish the source of contamination and what is likely to be wastes from companies around. We want to be very meticulous in what we are doing to enable us to pin down the source of contamination based on proper investigation.”