The Informer (Monrovia)

6 February 2013

Liberia: Giving a New Face to the Abused Du-River

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For the first time in Liberia, since the ending of the civil conflict, Liberians beginning to observe and enjoy some level of beauty and clean nature of the country's capital. Many of the streets are kept clean while giant-size trash cans are posted in strategic areas. This is unprecedented! But even more interesting is an attempt to keep the rivers around the city clean as reported to be in other cities around the world. Here, the Du-River is getting a better face.

Ever since in the history of Liberia, rivers and beaches have been used to dump faeces and waste until recently the appointment of Madam Mary Broh as acting Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC). Since her appointment, things have begun to change for the better for the Du-river and others.

As part of the effort to maintain a clean Du-river, residence along the banks of the river who use the river as dumping place (and even build toilets and bathrooms over the river) recently witnessed their structures and toilets along the river being remove or destroyed by the MCC. Amidst challenges of the lack of public toilets and facilities, the DU-river communities have been warned to take ownership of the river to help keep it clean. Some members of the community have initiated some self-help projects to provide collection of garbage and sanitation services to their communities. Interestingly, this is yielding results to give another meaning to the existence of the river in question.

Residence of the Du-river communities have outlined challenges facing them as the poor sanitary condition of the river, lack of pipe borne water, and the lack of public facilities. The residents are calling on national government to fulfill its part of the social contract by providing them the basics social services, especially if they should all work to preserve the water.

It can be seeing that most of the structures along the Du-river are zinc shacks and bricks houses without any adequate toilet facility. Adults--men and women--are seeing using the river to ease themselves and dispose of their wastes. Children usually defecate in plastic bags and old newspaper and dispose of them in the river. It is alleged by some community members that even dead bodies are dumped in the river.

One critical issue facing the Du-river from a vintage point of view is the issue of creating a land space by drying the water. Over the years, huge portions of the river have been taking away making the water to be shallow and narrow. This remains a major challenge to authorities and national government because if nothing is done about it very soon there will be no more Du-river.

As you may recalled the Du-river played a significant part in the history and Liberia. The Founding Fathers hold it in high esteem; so, is the responsibility of this generation of Liberians to preserve the Du-river for the generation of Liberians yet unborn. Instead of using it as a dump site, it could be used as a precious gift, with its banks beautified as a side attraction for the country's capital as seen in other countries of the global village.

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