-As Flooding and ‘Illegal Construction Overwhelm Urban Communities
By Esau J. Farr
Amidst continual over-flooding of urban communities especially those of Monrovia and its environs, New Republic Newspaper has observed with keen attention and concern that government’s agencies responsible for a safe and comfortable environment need to do more works for urban dwellers.
In recent years, many city residents mainly in Liberia’s Capital, Monrovia and its environs as well as the Port City of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County have and continue to experience the negative effects of over flooding and erosion at different places and time intervals.
The situations are sometimes blamed on either illegal construction of structures in alley ways and wetlands or illegal sand mining amongst others.
But one major question that continues to linger on the minds of all is who is responsible for all of said unfavorable and uncomfortable living conditions?
Though with different but similar mandates, the Ministry of Public Works (MPWs) backed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the respective City Corporations of various urban settlements like the Monrovia City Corporation, Paynesville City Corporation, Bensonville City Corporation and Gbarnga City Corporation just to name a few.
The Act that established the MPWs provides that people intending to construct a structure in urban areas must present their blue print (Plans) to the Ministry of Public Works (MPWs) for inspection and or approval before a structure is built to avoid future embarrassments like building in the alley-ways or trespassing and invasion of properties.
Notwithstanding, this has become a complete opposite of the deal as people no longer consult the MPWs evidenced by injunctions or halts being placed on projects in urban areas by the MPWs over the years.
Ironically, owners of some of the halted projects are given the green light or ‘go ahead’ over night to complete earmarked projects.
In the case of people filling in or drying the swamps and or wetlands, the EPA that is clothed with the authority to protect the environment and wetlands as well as wide lives is yet to score appreciable marks in protecting the environments.
Presently there are several swamp filling-ins while people continue to build homes and other structures in alley-ways in city centers with little or no actions to give residents a free breathing space have taken place.
Some of the most recently wetlands dried out or being dried out are; the stretch of land near the Sinkor Assembly of God Church at the Catholic Junction toward the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital now fully fenced and the ones opposite the Executive Car Wash and adjacent the Jr. Gas Station near the resident of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf all in Congo Town. Another is the SP Gas Station at the S. D. Cooper Road Junction near the ELWA Junction in Paynesville as a result of stores and residential areas constructed years back.
It is important that the agencies of government as mentioned here in double up their efforts in line with their mandates to ensure that such acts of lawlessness that bring about untold sufferings and uncomfortable environments sometimes resulting to conflicts and deaths are prevented or curbed.