Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee says he appreciates the Head of European Union Delegation to Liberia for recognizing the enormity of the challenge the City Government faces in handling solid waste in the City of Monrovia.
Mayor Koijee said Ambassador Laurent Delahousse’ comment that Monrovia is one of the dirtiest cities he has visited is basically a restatement of the Monrovia City Corporation’s position that “solid waste handling in the City of Monrovia is overwhelming our capacity to deal with the existing challenges we have in the absence of a sustainable approach.”
The Monro City Mayor statement comes immediately after Head of Mission of the European Union said at the start of a two day Solid Waste Management Forum in Monrovia that Monrovia “is disgusting and the dirtiest cities of the many places I have visited in my work in Africa.
“I am aware that tremendous progress has been made but more needs to be done because a clean city is critical to attract tourists and create jobs for young people-which is a big issue in Liberia.
"In waste management, an essential factor is the community leaders. You represent the people and an essential transmission line between the objectives of your government and the implementation by the people. And also, an essential transmission line between the needs of the people and your government.
You all have an absolutely essential role to play in this.
I am not very familiar with this issue [waste management in Monrovia] because I have only been here for a year. I want to inform myself and learn more,” the EU Envoy stated.
Koijee stressed that there is no gainsaying that "solid Waste handling in our City remains a fundamental challenge fronting our vision for a clean, green and safe environment. Methods used before now to keep the City of Monrovia clean were not owned by the citizenry. Hence, sustainability, despite the help of our international partners, eluded us. So the challenge remains unsurmounted. We have not come to leadership to make excuses for these drawbacks or shift blames but these are issues we are overcoming.”
“I am glad that the European Union Delegation to Liberia through its head realizes the enormity of our challenge. We are committed to changing the narrative notwithstanding,” the Monrovia City Mayor emphasized.
He indicated that the recognition of this challenge go a long way in informing the European Union and other partners of the need for continuous assistance as the City Government work to institute a sustainable framework.
Mayor Koijee believes that every cent spent on waste management would make no impact unless a sustainable strategy that would harness the full involvement and ownership of the ordinary citizens in terms of the way waste is handled gets into place. We are not here to make excuses. We came to solve a problem. Achieving this would require all hands on deck," Mayor Jefferson Koijee pointed out.
According to him, the City Government is adopting a bottom to top approach that would allow community leaders to work with households to put in place a regimented waste disposal mechanism that is sustainable primarily because the people would take ownership while the city Government provides leadership.
Another way the City Government of Monrovia is looking to remedy the menace is through converting them to value-added products such as briquettes for domestic as well industrial fuel.
This is why, Mayor Koijee added, the forum was organized to bring all stakeholders to the table to discuss ways as well as communicate to them sustainable approach the city government is putting in place to address the abounding challenges.