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CDC Sludge Oil Might Trigger Cholera, SDO Warns 


By Francis Tim Mbom

Fako SDO, Zang III, has expressed worries that the sludge palm oil from the Idenau Oil Mill might be harmful to the residents.

“Mr. Mayor, do something for CDC to address this problem of its waste oil that is streaming down to this quarters. It might result to cholera,” Zang said.
He was speaking to the Mayor of Idenau, while presiding at the First ordinary session of the Council. Zang was disturbed by what he saw, as he took a walk down to the stream that ferries the oil sludge to a certain neighbourhood.

But when the Post accosted the Mill Manager, Mr. Fomenky, he said he could not comment on the issue and that only his hierarchy at the Head Office could do so.

The Communication Manager, Manyanye Ikome, told The Post June 10, that to the best of his knowledge, the “sludge oil is not harmful.” He argued that the sludge from the oil mills cannot be harmful because the stuff is not so different from the palm oil that is extracted before the residue oil is allowed to flow down.

The downstream area where the sludge oil flows to is a whole industry of its own. While Zang fears that the sludge might trigger cholera, some 60 women are even more worried that the SDO’s drive to get the CDC stop the sludge might soon dislodge them from a wholesome source of livelihood.

The women, collect the ‘oil waste’ flowing down from the CDC Oil mill, fill the waste in metal drums, boil it and recuperate the oil that is left.

One of them, Mary Njako, told The Post that a drum of residual oil rescued from the sludge after boiling is sold for FCFA 7000 or 8000. The oil is used to produce some local soap, commonly known as “Coco-soap.”
The site is covered by hundreds of drums and the women said they spend days, weeks and months, collecting the oily mud just to make ends meet.

“I don’t want the SDO to cause the Mayor or the CDC to send us away from here,” Njako said. “I have been here for the past 22 years and all my children have been educated thanks to the little money I make from this place” she said.

Meantime, research conducted in other palm oil producing countries like Nigeria and Malaysia shows that effluent from oil mills could be damaging to the environment if the sludge is not well treated before disposal.

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