As environmental pollution and poor sanitation overwhelm urban areas including Monrovia, a local non-governmental organization, Think Blue Live Green, has begun engaging students and other youth to take ownership of their dwelling places by keeping their environments clean and free of garbage and foul smelling objects.
Although there are city ordinances to ensure sanitation in public spaces, these laws are rarely known to the public due partly to inadequate dissemination of information by stakeholders responsible for sensitizing the millions of inhabitants of Monrovia and other cities in Liberia. As a result, littering, urination and defecation in public spaces have become common practices in Liberia. This is especially made worse by the absence of public toilet facilities.
Many residents have houses in slum communities but without toilets, and in the end, those living by the beach use these otherwise scenic places to defecate and pollute the ocean water by throwing garbage that is swept into the ocean.
The Think Blue Live Green awareness campaign for sustainable and clean communities supported by the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and organized by Miss Boss Lady (MBL) International is taking the approach of gathering people in a particular location to lecture them on the importance of having a clean environment and avoiding activities that are counterproductive to cleanliness.
At a recently held event, more than 150 students and youth from the City of Marshall, and the cadets from the Liberia Maritime Training Institute came together to talk about the significance of our waters, their natural and financial resources and the importance of keeping waterways clean in order for our communities to stay healthy.
Donald T. Gwaikolo, a professor from the Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI), informed the students about the relevance of the different aspects of the “Think Blue, Live Green” including thinking blue: blue economy, blue ocean, and blue skies; green environment and clean marine ecosystem that Liberia is endowed with.
He said despite Liberia being blessed with a long coastline unlike its neighbours, little is being done to tap into the economic advantages the country’s marine resources. “This is because we are not “thinking blue,” Gwaikolo pointed out.
“The long coastline Liberia has is a reservoir of wealth, health and money if utilized properly,” the instructor added.
According to Mr. Gwaikolo, there are many resources under the ocean that can be mined for the greater good of the country, but Liberians are either not interested or are unaware.
The team leader of MBL Group, Marcelle G. Yhap told participants, “We want to make sure that Liberia has clean communities, especially along the coast. A lot of our resources come from the water. We have fish and port facilities that depend on the water, we depend on water every day, so we have to think about how we are affecting our waters” she stated.
According to the MBL Group Team leader at the forum, MBL with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia is going to various communities across selected coastal areas to educate residents, students and other young people about the need to keep their beaches and communities clean.
She disclosed that the team will go to Grand Cape Mount and Grand Bassa Counties to conduct similar forums and beach clean-ups as part of Think Blue, Live Green awareness exercise.
Marshall City, she noted, is privileged to be the first place to benefit from the initiative that would go a long way in helping young people to be aware of the danger that pollution poses to the waters around them and the environment.
At the end of the daylong event, the Special Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Marshall, McArthur Williams thanked MBL Group for the initiative and the Swedish Embassy in Monrovia for the support that provided the young people of the coastal city the opportunity to acquire new knowledge about the management of marine ecosystem and the environment.
Two large trash and recycle bins were donated to be used by the Marshall City Hall and to LMTI to store trash for proper disposal.