The Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Liberia, Laurent Delahousse’ describes the City of Monrovia as the disgusting and dirtiest of cities in Africa.
“I am aware that tremendous progress has been made but more needs to be done because a clean city is critical to attract tourists and create jobs for young people – which is a big issue in Liberia”, he said.
Speaking at the start of a two-day Solid Waste Management Forum here he notes, “Monrovia is disgusting and the dirtiest city of the many places I have visited in my work in Africa.”
According to the EU Head of Delegation, in waste management, an essential factor is the community leaders, noting “You represent the people and an essential transmission line between the objectives of your government and the implementation by the people. And also, an essential transmission line between the needs of the people and your government.”
“I am not very familiar with this issue [waste management in Monrovia] because I have only been here for a year. I want to inform myself and learn more,” the EU Envoy stated.
However, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee lauds the Head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia for recognizing the enormity of the challenge the City Government faces in handling solid waste.
Mayor Koijee says Ambassador Laurent Delahousse’ comment that Monrovia is one of the dirtiest cities he has visited is basically a restatement of the Monrovia City Corporation’s position that “solid waste handling in the City of Monrovia is overwhelming our capacity to deal with the existing challenges we have in the absence of a sustainable approach.”
Mayor Koijee stressed that there is no gainsaying that “solid Waste handling in Monrovia remains a fundamental challenge, confronting his vision for a clean, green, and safe environment.
He said methods used before now to keep the City of Monrovia clean were not owned by the citizenry. Hence, sustainability, despite the help of international partners, has eluded the City Government.
“I am glad that the European Union Delegation to Liberia through its head realizes the enormity of our challenge. We are committed to changing the narrative notwithstanding,” Mayor Koijee emphasized.
He indicated that the recognition of this challenge will go a long way in informing the European Union and other partners of the need for continued assistance as the City Government works to institute a sustainable framework.
Mayor Koijee believes that every cent spent on waste management would make no impact unless a sustainable strategy that would harness the full involvement and ownership of ordinary citizens in terms of the way waste is handled gets into place, saying, “We are not here to make excuses. We came to solve a problem. Achieving this would require all hands on deck.”
He said the City Government is adopting a bottom-to-top approach that would allow community leaders to work with households to put in place a regimented waste disposal mechanism that is sustainable primarily because the people would take ownership while the City Government provides leadership.
Another way the City Government intends to remedy the menace is through converting waste to value-added products such as briquettes for domestic and industrial fuel. Editing by Jonathan Browne