….wants robust approach to solve Whein Town sanitation nightmare “Polluter Pays Principle” – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The lack of safe water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene has a severe and burdensome impact on the daily lives of Liberians.
Nearly four million Liberians are ruthlessly affected by these challenges each day with staggering impact on the economy and environment.
The lack of safe water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene is causing a crisis in our country. But, Liberia’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) crisis is not due to scarcity.
It is due exclusively to the lack of access, effective public policy, political will and determination.
In a recent report, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that many Liberians die each year from preventable diseases attributed to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and improper hygiene.
Furthermore, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund affirms the fact that diarrhea related diseases cases stunting among Liberian children because of the huge toll taken on this venerable segment of our population.
Water, sanitation and hygiene are not top priorities in Liberia, even though they are essential for life, health and dignity.
WASH impacts the ability of every Liberian to learn, thrive, grow and improve him or herself.
It is so very crucial for poverty reduction and livelihood improvements in the country that it stalls well-meaning development efforts of the government.
Despite all of the efforts of several international partners in Liberia, the issue of sanitation remains a major challenge in the sector.
According to a recent WASH survey, poor sanitation in and around Monrovia continues to be a serious problem, especially the collection and disposal of garbage.
Poor sanitation, gives many infections the ideal opportunity to spread. Waste and excreta are fertile materials for flies to breed on, and unsafe water to drink, wash with or swim in are among the major causes of human parasitic diseases.
Sanitation has important implications for health and human capital development.
Poor sanitation, they say, causes intestinal diseases that reduce the absorption of calories and nutrients and contribute to malnutrition.
These diseases kill babies, accordingly, stunt the physical and cognitive development of surviving children, and ultimately reduce their human capital development and earning potential later in life.
Solid Waste Management is arguably the greatest public health threat in Monrovia. Virtually no waste management sector, along with a lack of proper toilets, mean household trash, human feces, and hazardous medical waste are randomly disposed of throughout the city, in some areas swelling to piles large enough to block roads.
Despite all of the efforts on the part of the government of Liberia and international partners, sanitation remains a major challenge in the WASH sector of the country.
The collection and removal of garbage in and around the city poses serious huddles to citizens in many communities used as pickups points for garbage.
In an attempt to resolve these issues surrounding sanitation in Monrovia and Liberia at large, a solid waste expert has advanced the polluter pay principle.
“The ‘Polluter Pays’ Principle is an environmental policy principle which requires that the costs of pollution be borne by those who cause it”, says a Solid Waste Expert.
According to Jeff Nyandibo, when this Principle is passed into Law, it would help the government of Liberia and citizens in protecting their respective communities.
Mr. Nyandibo said the methodology of the Polluter Paid System has been advanced as tool that could serve as a remedy to the sanitation problem.
Appearing on a local radio talk show in Monrovia, the Solid Waste Expert urged Liberians pay for the garbage they create and it should not be based on the intervention of international partners.
Mr. Nyandibo who is also the President of the Liberia Solid Waste Management Association said if nothing is done to put in place a frame work in resolving this issue, sanitation will always be a nightmare, not only for Monrovia, but the entire country.
Commenting on the crisis at Whein Town, the solid waste expert called for the relocation of that Land fill by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC).
Mr. Nyandibo also suggests that a robust firm work should be put in place as a means of treating the site.
Also commenting on the Whein Town crisis, a WASH Advocate, Timothy Kpeh of the United Youth indicated that the sanitation crisis at When Town can be settled through a better Policy.
Mr. Kpeh said as long there is no policy regarding disposal of garbage in the area, the condition faced by residents is far from over.
It can be recalled that in 2014, residents of the same area set up road blocks to put stop to the disposal of garbage in the area, but the strike action was later cutoff following government’s intervention with some compromises made.
According to residents, since the strike action was called off by them, MCC authorities have failed to meet up with their commitment.
Few Months ago, a gigantic explosion took place in the community on the Whein Town dumpsite creating dark cloud in the community with unpleasant scent filtering in the air.
Many of the residents, especially those living behind the dump site complained about headache, soul throats and coughing as a result of the explosion.
The residents indicated that since the blast took place at the dumpsite, their health status has deteriorated seriously with their children been admitted at clinics and hospitals.
They informed WASH Media Network that before the blast in the area, they have been facing both sanitary and safe drinking water problems.
The aggrieved residents said they see no light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to the improvement of conditions in Whein Town.
The ‘Polluter Pays’ Principle advanced by Mr. Nyandibo is normally implemented through two different policy approaches: command-and-control and market-based.
Command-and-control approaches include performance and technology standards, such as environmental regulations in the production of a given polluting technology.
Market-based instruments include pollution or Eco taxes, tradable pollution permits and product labeling.