LIBERIA: Amid Continuous Sea Erosion In The Township Of West Point Residents To Establish Environmental Clubs

Liberia: West Point Sea Erosion (Credit FPA)

Citizens and residents of the Township of West Point have committed themselves to establish environmental clubs in each of the seven zones of the Township. They made this pledge at a well-attended gathering at the U-2 Intellectual Forum, in the Township, on Independence Day July 26, 2022 while celebrating the appointment of former Superintendent of Montserrado County, Hon. Rupel E. Marshall, Sr. as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hon. Marshall who was at the forum in response to an invitation extended to him by two of the youth leaders Mustapha Swaray and Mcphearson Daweh said in a prepared statement that he was there to celebrate Liberia’s Independence Day with family and friends.

“it is the Liberian tradition that family and friends spend “26” together eating, single, dancing just enjoying our freedom. This is why I am here to celebrate “26” with you my family and friends”. He revealed his long direct relationship with the Township commencing from the construction of the modern clinic in 1987 that is now operated by the Catholics. Stating his relationship with Swaray and Mecphearson he stated “Twenty two years ago, I bumped into a group of young men beating on pans and cans and bottles, singing and asking for aims along the roads and alleys of Waterside. I asked who they were. They said they were members of a football team called “Future Stars” and they were going through the communities soliciting support for their soccer team. We entered into a conversation that resulted into I becoming sponsor of the team and maintaining a mutually rewarding relationship with Mustapha Swaray and some other members of the erstwhile Future Stars all these years”

Hon. Marshall echoed the sentiments of expressions of thanks and appreciation being showered on president Weah by many of those in attendance for appointing him by stating “ The news is around that H.E. President George M. Weah has constituted the Board of Directors of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has graciously named me the Chairperson of the Board. I am happy to again serve my president and my country. Please join me in thanking the president for considering one of us, in person of your family member, Rupel E. Marshall. Also, join me in prayers that God will continue to bless the president, save the state and give the Board the diligence to carry out its mandate. In the end-very shortly – the environment will be fully protected, erosion – one of the menacing challenges facing you – would be abated flooding will ease and we will all enjoy a clean safe and beautiful environment”.

The attendees at the forum centered almost all of their comments and inquires to Hon. Marshall on the Coastal Defense Project. Among the questions asked were: when will the project start, should we maintain our expectation that the Nathaniel V. Massaquoi Public School will be raised to high school level as is our understanding, if buildings will are demolished for the project will the owners be compensated, will the residents of West Points be employed and get other benefits as a result of the project. Specially, Mr. Mcpheason Daweh, Chairman of the U-2 Intellectual Forum, emotionally repeated “when will the project start and will the fishermen still be able to dock their boats without being involved in any hazardous conditions because of the project?”

Before responding to these questions, Hon. Marchall revealed that Liberians should be good environmentalists because from Grade 5, environmental protection is taught. “if you completed 5th Grade in Liberia, you know much about Environmental pollution and how to control it, you learned the causes of pollution and its devastating effects in our communities. I know so because you were taught these things in the 5th Grade. In the 5th Grade Social Studies textbook, unit 6, pages 93 to 103, fifth graders are taught all that we need to know about protecting the environment. Let us commend our Government for stating to teach this important topic in the primary division. All we need to do, at least starting from 5th grade of from about the age of ten onwards is to put our learning into actions”.

Several of the residents asked that Government come to West Point and setup organizations to help protect the environment. Hon. Marshall countered this request by saying “our learning is not being put into action because we cannot boast nor take pride that the communities in our urban centers are clean, safe and beautiful. You praises of the president and your congratulations of me to have ascended to the Chairmanship of the EPA Board, should strengthen all of us to vigorously carry out environmental protection measures. I can assure you that the Board of Directors shall effectively carryout its oversight, monitoring and supervisory functions. A real difference – in the shortest time will be seen and felt with respect to environmental protection. Instead of calling on Government to come and organize you, I urge that you, the dwellers of West Point being among the major stakeholders of the communities in West Point, to protect your environment by taking ownership of the process through setting up numerous community and school environmental clubs. I assure you that, you will receive support from the government of Liberia and our International partners to keep your environment clean, safe and beautiful for your own sake, for the sake of your country, your continent and our shared world.

The audience immediately responded enthusiastically by stating that they will set up environmental clubs throughout the seven zones of West point. To the direct questions on the Coastal Defense project, Hon. Marshall drew a line between the functions of the Board of Directors and the implementation of the project. He said that the day-to-day executive and management of the EPA is under the Executive Director/CEO, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh and management team. He said he went West Point to celebrate “26” as a family member, but as chairman of the EPA Board he plans to visit almost all communities in Liberia to get more informed to enable the Borad to carry out its mandate” some of those present at the occasion were Mr. Momolu Bali, member of the senior staff of general Auditing Commissioner, Mr. Alex cooper, and Adnistrative Assistant to the commissioner of the Township of Cheesmanburg who came to grace the occasion; Mr. Mecphearson Daweh, Chairman of U-2 intellectual Forum and madam Susana Gaye, a petty Trader.

The Township of West Point is a densely populated Coastal area of Monrovia which perennially suffers from an age-old problem of erosion by the Alantic ocean. The major means of livelihood in the Township is fishery and petty trading. Homes and roads are usually washed out as the result of the erosion.

The one-hour long occasion ended with all those in attendance, including Hon. Marshall downing cups of ataye, a local herbal beverage usually consumed at communities’ intellectual centers.

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