Even as public concern mounts over the unsanitary conditions of Monrovia’s beaches, residents continue to face issues from ecological degradation owing to waste being dumped on the beaches.
For nearly a week and half, residents from 3rd Street up to 13th Street in Sinkor, Monrovia, have been complaining about sewage coming from the plumbing systems of various buildings being dumped into the ocean.
Environmentalists and residents of the affected communities have pointed accusing fingers at occupants of the African Plaza Housing Complex and the Headquarters of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Many of the residents have become disenchanted because their complaints against major business entities including hotels, airline offices, and restaurants are seemingly falling upon deaf ears.
As a result of the excess of sewage and other forms of wastes being constantly dumped into the ocean, the tide often returns most of the pollutants back onto the beaches of the densely populated communities along the ocean. This contaminates the air, sand, and safe drinking systems.
According to environmentalists and hydrological experts, the ocean cannot withstand wastes from manmade sources. The delicate balance of maintaining the ocean’s ecosystem while serving humanity’s needs make battling pollution very difficult without help.
The Daily Observer met Lutheran Church of Liberia, Bishop Dr. Daniel Jensen Senyenkulo, who is a major stakeholder of the 13th Street seaside community.
Bishop Senyenkulo expressed grave concern over the air and water pollution of the various beaches in Sinkor.
Bishop Senyenkulo stated that waste contamination of the beaches by business entities must claim the immediate attention of all concerned stakeholders so steps can be taken to have the beaches clean and constantly kept clean.
Dr. Senyenkulo explained that exposure to drinking water and sand being contaminated by waste threatened the lives of all those living on, near, and merely visiting the beach because of the mix of unidentified filth and chemicals in the area.
“I would be very grateful if the Liberian Government’s line ministries and agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its support partners in the environmental sector could urgently institute practical action in order to save the lives of residents of Sinkor,” Bishop Senyenkulo pleaded.
A 10th Street resident, Philip B. Stewart, expressed serious concern over the unsanitary conditions of the beaches and joined the chorus of voices calling for swift action by the EPA.
“Move now to save us from the ecological hazards stemming from the pollution caused by sewer pipelines of these ‘big business’ buildings,” Stewart cried out.
“We are dying slowly from the odor of the wastes,” he added.
A 3rd Street resident, Grace M. Coleman, called on the EPA and all supporting partners, including the United Nations, to assist the Liberian government, halt the degradation of the beaches in the Sinkor area in Monrovia and other parts of country.
“Our wells and other vital water sources are being gradually contaminated by the wastes from the sewer pipelines. This is water we use to bathe our children, clean our homes, and cook our food,” Madam Coleman said.
Meanwhile, a well-placed source within the UN System, who spoke to the Daily Observer under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, maintained that the allegations against UNMIL are untrue.
The source explained that UNMIL and all UN agencies have strict eco-friendly policies concerning the disposal of wastes.
He said UNMIL headquarters, which is just along the ocean, is equipped with machinery that recycles non-biodegradables (wastes that can’t be broken down) and grinds and incinerates biodegradables (wastes from organic sources like humans, plants, and animals that are easily broken down). This falls in line with several of the UN’s green (environmentally friendly) initiatives.