Monrovia's Hidden Crisis: The Struggle for Clean Water and Sanitation

Jun 10, 2024 - 14:57
Jun 10, 2024 - 17:47
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Monrovia's Hidden Crisis: The Struggle for Clean Water and Sanitation

Beneath the vibrant surface of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, lies a hidden crisis that poses severe threats to public health and environmental sustainability. The Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) is grappling with a myriad of challenges as it strives to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services to the city’s residents.

In densely populated areas like Waterside Market and West Point, the LWSC's efforts are severely hampered. Hundreds of residents and business owners have constructed buildings and shops on alleys intended for sewerage lines, obstructing access and impeding essential maintenance and repair work. This encroachment has led to significant environmental and health hazards.

Blocked sewerage lines and makeshift private toilets have become a common sight in these neighborhoods. The improper disposal of waste and the proliferation of unsanitary facilities are causing serious health issues. Open defecation is prevalent, with feces visibly littering the streets, creating a breeding ground for disease and painting an unflattering picture of the city’s environmental health.

As a journalist reporting on this issue, I have witnessed firsthand the appalling conditions in Monrovia. Feces are scattered on street corners and alleys, mixing with leaking, dirty water filled with excrement. The sight is not only distressing but also a severe health hazard. This unsanitary environment poses a significant risk to public health and highlights the urgent need for effective sanitation solutions.

Despite these daunting obstacles, the LWSC workforce remains dedicated. Every day, workers can be seen cleaning drainage systems, installing sewerage lines, and ensuring the supply of clean drinking water across Monrovia. However, their efforts often go unrecognized and unappreciated by the public.

In the administration of Director Mohammed (Mo) Ali, LWSC has achieved a significant milestone by effectively pumping water to thousands of households in Monrovia and its environs. This accomplishment marks the first of its kind in recent years, a testament to Mo Ali's leadership and a substantial boost for President Joseph Nyuma Boakai's government. This progress underscores the LWSC’s potential to overcome the challenges it faces with the right support and resources.

LWSC Director General Mo Ali

Mr. Mo Ali, the Managing Director of LWSC, expressed the dire need for governmental intervention and international support. “We are working tirelessly, but our efforts are thwarted by the physical barriers of unauthorized structures, theft of materials, and widespread non-payment of bills, including by some government officials. The government’s intervention is crucial, and we also need financial and material support from NGOs and international donors to continue our work effectively,” Ali stated.

The LWSC’s workers face an uphill battle, often performing their duties with minimal equipment and sometimes even with their bare hands. Their dedication to maintaining environmental health and public safety is commendable but insufficient without broader community cooperation and support.

Director Ali further highlighted the importance of community involvement in addressing these environmental challenges. “If we all take responsibility for our environment, clean our residences and business places, we can reduce the sicknesses caused by these wastes and pollution,” he urged during a recent tour of the affected areas.

The encroachment on sewerage lines and the proliferation of unsanitary practices pose significant environmental threats to Monrovia. The visible fecal matter on streets not only harms the city's image but also creates an unhealthy living environment. The environmental impact of these practices is severe, with potential contamination of water sources and increased spread of diseases.

The LWSC’s mission to provide clean water and effective sewerage services is crucial for the city’s sustainability. However, according to Patrick N. Saxdikie, Deputy for Technical Services at LWSC, achieving this goal requires concerted efforts from the government, international donors, and the community. By working together, Monrovia can overcome these environmental challenges and ensure a healthier future for its residents.

The story of the LWSC workers is one of resilience and dedication. Their efforts, though often unseen, are vital to the city’s health and environmental well-being. It is a call to action for all stakeholders to support these unsung heroes in their mission to create a cleaner, healthier Monrovia.

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Daniel Theo Cole Daniel Theophilus Cole is a Senior Reporter at Kool 91.9 FM/TV/Knewsonline. Cole has a keen interest in Human Interest, Political, Economy, and Agricultural Stories. His passion for journalism extends beyond self-interest. Cell#0776762186 Email: [email protected]