The event took place under a blazing sun on the West Miami Beach situated in the Township of West Point. It brought together 150 young people from the N.V. Massaquoi School. Others were the Chairperson of the Elders’ Council of West Point alongside the Principal, M. Gleh Mason, II coupled with some faculty and staff members.
Madam Lilieth Whyte, Economic Officer of the U.S. Embassy Monrovia graced the occasion with safety tips and a brief inspirational message on the essence of the clean oceans. The U.S. Embassy Monrovia through Madam Lilieth Whyte provided the trash bags and plastic grooves for Liberia’s first Ocean Clean-up Day.
The U.S. Diplomat urged the young West Pointers to make their community one of the cleanest, safest and healthiest communities in Liberia. She further stressed that being poor does not in any way mean you have to be nasty.
Madam Whyte reemphasized the need for everyone to get involve in ensuring cleaner oceans. She called on young people to become ocean champions. She also pointed out that young people should engage in voluntary ocean clean-up initiatives through a more consolidated efforts.
“Everyone is linked to the oceans in many ways. So, no matter how far you live from the shore, the oceans in this world affect the lives of your families and friends, classmates and colleagues. The air that you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the products that keep you warm, safe, informed, and entertained – all can come from or are transported by the ocean” the U.S. Embassy Monrovia Economic Officer indicated.
Speaking earlier, the founder and executive director of Youth Exploring Solutions, Stephen B. Lavalah admonished young people to take appropriate actions in cleaning up and protecting Liberia’s coastline from the consistent, insistent and persistent pollution. He stated that the ocean is directly connected to the livelihood and survival of the people of West Point and many coastal communities across the country.
“Most of the people in West Point are fishermen and market women who depend on fish for their survival, but if we continue to carry out illegal beach mining and massive marine pollution at this current rate, we stand the risk of making West Point history with the entire community swallowed by water within our lifetime. As you may be aware there is only one road the leads to the densely populated West Point, because the other newly flourished road have been submerged with wreckage scattered beneath the vast Atlantic Ocean” the youth leader noted.
Lavalah lamented that many households in one of Liberia’s largest slum communities lacks access to toilet facilities and designated waste disposal sites. As a result, the youth advocate asserted that many people in the Township of West Point are engaged in open defecation, dumping of waste, discharge of sewage, illegal beach sand mining as well as unsustainable fishing practices.
The founder and executive director of Youth Exploring Solutions is calling on the stakeholders especially the Government of the Republic of Liberia to designate many places as possible for the disposal of household waste to avoid the dumping of waste along the shoreline. The youth advocate also stressed the need for the government to construct considerable numbers of toilet facilities to put an end to open defecation in the township.
Lavalah used the Ocean Clean-up Day to urge the young people of West Point to periodically clean-up the coastline. He also called on the administration of the N.V. Massaquoi as well as other schools within the Township of West Point to include Ocean and Inland Waterways clean-up initiatives as part of their schools’ activities.
Liberia’s Ocean Clean-up Day is designed to mobilize and motivate people of all ages and gender to voluntarily remove trash from Liberia’s beaches and inland waterways while raising public awareness about the ways Liberians can all work together to prevent marine litter from occurring in the first place.
The coastal clean-up exercise also enlightens and broadens the mind of people to create a sea of change in public attitudes and individual responsibility in ensuring a healthier, cleaner, and safer ocean for ourselves, our grandchildren, and generations yet unborn.