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Plastic Waste from entering the Atlantic Ocean

Posted by Momolu Massaquoi | Montserrado, Liberia

Monrovia is the capital city of Liberia and is the country’s most developed and urbanized city. It is situated along the country’s 565 km coastline. Monrovia is also the economic hub of Liberia and home to a population of 939,524 which represents 25% of the total national population. Like most coastal populations, the city’s population is expected to increase from 1,569,000 in 2021 to 1,623,000 in 2022.

Like most coastal urban Sub-Saharan cities, the growth of Monrovia’s population is not being accompanied by the requisite expansion in basic facilities and services such as those for water and sanitation. Monrovia lacks adequate waste collection, treatment, and disposal facilities. In the city, communities along the Mesurado River and the Atlantic Ocean disposed of their waste into water bodies or onto beaches/riverbanks. Worsening this pollution is the lack of or ineffective national policies, laws, and regulations governing pollution control of coastal waters.

Some of the adverse socio-economic impacts because of the pollution include loss of tourist and recreational opportunities, especially to Providence Island, increased risk to human health, and associated increased cost of medical treatment for residents of communities along the Mesurado Rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. This project thus intends to address the root causes that lead to these impacts that have a direct effect on the quality of life of the communities as well as the marine environment. The most encountered forms of litter are plastics, metal cans, and less readily degraded forms of household refuse.

The Mesurado has a length of 4.86 kilometers, and it is one of the hot spots of ocean-bound waste in Liberia, it is threatened by various pollutants including domestic sewage and garbage. The major socio-economic impacts include the deterioration of human health (illness and deaths) because of increases in diseases such as cholera and typhoid and a decline in fishery production. There is also a negative impact on tourism, especially on Providence Island.

This proposal aims at starting up a collection of ocean-bound plastic along the Mesurado River and to recycle the plastic waste into bricks, roofing tiles, plastic lumber, etc., thereby improving the local environment and offering employment to individuals.

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