On March 11, 2019, in the Front street community, there was almost an accident to befall us, as the picture above illustrates. We have a very narrow road where only two vehicles are allowed to pass in two opposite directions. However now, we are noticing that half of the road has been occupied by dirt. As a result of this, drivers violate road safety laws by using the opposite direction. Furthermore, this is the same road that motorcyclists and other moving vehicles use for transportation. At the same time, young children and adults also walk on the road.
One of the most frustrating parts about environmental pollution in our community is that the release of unwanted substances in our environment is not usually done by the inhabitants of the community, but rather the Monrovia City Corporation Workers (MCC). So, you can sense how embarrassing and humiliating the situation we are confronted with is. People who are responsible for providing a clean environment and sustaining good health have now become the perpetrators of wrongdoing, causing us so many harms. Their failure to fulfill their responsibilities obviously demonstrates to us that they are incompetent and irresponsible.
Why is it pleasant to our leaders' minds to see our lives been threatened on a daily basis, and they deliberately refuse to find a better solution to avoid wasting hazardous substances in the street?
Prominently, environmental pollution is one of the problems affecting our health in the Front Street community. Environmental pollution has affected our environmental resources such as water, which has been a huge detriment to the growth and development of our health. The lives of young children in the Front Street community has especially been at risk. Many children experience malaria and other illnesses on a monthly basis due to the increasing pollutants and unwanted substances in our environment; at the same time, the presence of cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes are always on the rise due to unsanitary living conditions in our community. Among the damaging effects of pollution in our community is the contamination of our pure and safe water that we use for drinking, bathing, and washing our clothes and dishes. Without doubt, the pollutants and uncontrollable disposals of dirt in our environment is an immense danger to our livelihoods.
Sometimes, the young children drink some of the undrinkable water, which causes illnesses and sometimes causes fatal diseases. Additionally, when children bathe with this unsanitary water, it often causes skin diseases. Every month, more than 25 young children are taken to the hospital for treatment as a result of using contaminated water.
The officials of the state who are responsible for regulating the environment and healthcare system are failing to meet the needs of the people. They are not doing their jobs properly. They are perceived as economic vampires and perpetrators of social, legal, and political crimes. Moreover, they only care about the issues that are in their personal interests. They always ignore their wrongdoings, and consciously violate the fundamental rights of their people. Steve Biko states that "the future will always be shaped by the events of our present day happening" . If the life of young people in Liberia today is not protected, the future growth of the country’s democracy will be devastated.
With this in mind,we as the youths of Liberia are now responsible to provide a remedy to the problems that we did not create. In an effort to help eliminate some of these social problems, I founded National Youths against Environmental Pollution and Illiteracy. Through this organization, I work with my colleagues and mentors to create a resilient society through innovation and greater awareness. I also tried to raise funds to help buy some materials that will protect the bodies of community members.
Many days and nights, we dream of a better future and a better society that will improve the lives of our next generation. However, sadly, we have not been given the opportunity to achieve this vision as our rights are violated on a daily basis. I have realized that to avoid some of these socioeconomic problems in our community and Liberia at larger, the government of Liberia must prioritize the lives of its youth and address the misappropriation of public funds. It must institute laws that punish the throwing of dirt on the street and the pollution of the environment in any way. Lastly, the government must also support youth-based organizations which aim to promote Pan-Africanism by building the society through innovation.