Thursday, November 08, 2007

Congo experts hurry to test river for radiation

I'm against capital punishment. Its barbaric and inhumane, but if authorities can discover the people responsible for this...
Environmental experts hurried to southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday to test water from a river where authorities suspect 18 tonnes of radioactive minerals were dumped last week.

Officials feared contamination of the river, an important source of drinking water for thousands of people in Katanga province, the vast central African nation's mining heartland.

The team, including Congo's environment minister and experts from the country's atomic energy agency and environment ministry, was due in the city of Likasi later on Thursday.

Congolese authorities opened an inquiry on Wednesday after it was found that radioactive copper and cobalt ore might have been offloaded into the Mura river, 10 km (6 miles) from Likasi, a city with a population of 300,000.

Testing at the suspected dumping site on Thursday showed levels of radioactivity nearly 50 times the limit set for mineral exports from Congo, which is barred from exporting uranium, provincial Environment Minister Therese Lukenge said.

"Unfortunately, this is the same source that leads to a pumping station that distributes water to the population. This is the water that is delivered to the whole city," Lukenge told Reuters by telephone from the banks of the Mura river.

Its unclear why so few have seemed to pick up this disgusting story.

Via Reuters.

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