Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Urban Activities, Stephen Nuefville, said despite successes made in waste management as a whole, there are enormous challenges and gaps in solid waste management (SWM) in the country.
Some of the challenges, he said, include the need to formulate a National Solid Waste Management Policy (NSWMP) to provide the compass for the direction of how SWM should be effectively handled for efficiency and sustainability. Another is the inability of the system to achieve 100 percent coverage in central Monrovia.
Nuefville named inadequate government contribution to SWM service delivery due to the effect of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) on the national economy; prolonged delays in land acquisition for a permanent landfill site for Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); lack of sanitary landfill sites in the pilot cities of Kakata, Margibi County, and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, and the absence of organized SWM service delivery in other cities and urban centers as other challenges to adequate SWM in Liberia.
He highlighted the challenges yesterday at the opening of a one-day National Solid Waste Management Policy Validation (NSWMP) held in Bentol City, Montserrado County.
The NSWNP, he said, became necessary because the country is experiencing unprecedented demographic shifts and patterns in terms of migration; rapid urbanization and population growth; increased economic and commercial activities, among others.
“(It is necessary) to put in place an organized and sustainable Solid Waste Management (SWM) services delivery system,” he added.
Mr. Nuefville said Liberia has so far recorded remarkable achievements in the effective and organized SWM service delivery in central Monrovia, Kakata and Buchanan cities, supported by the World Bank and the Gates Foundation for more than 60 percent of the population.
He noted that with the growing population of urban cities across the country, waste collection cannot be done as usual.
“Instead, laws should be enacted to ensure the cooperation of the citizenry to get involved in the exercise,” he added.
Meanwhile, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative to Liberia, Sheldon Yett, assured participants of the entity’s support to the SWM policy.
Mr. Yett said UNICEF will provide the initial support to develop the policy document by organizing solid waste management systems in Liberia, adding that the support will depend on financial resources from the National Budget.
Yett expressed the hope that the policy document will be used to address Liberia’s waste situation effectively, and not left on the shelf, adding that there can be experts from around the world to draft the policy, “but implementation matters the most.”
In her welcome remark, Bentol City Mayor Christine Tolbert Norman expressed appreciation for the validation exercise and promised to abide by whatever policy was formulated at the end of the program.