Morris T. Koffa, Sr., Ph.D.

Africa Environmental Watch (AEW), is Thinking About Liberia

Posted May 18, 2022

By Morris T. Koffa, Sr., Ph.D.

The current solid waste crisis in Liberia especially in the urban cities such as Monrovia, Paynesville, and its environs remains an alarming episode.

For almost two decades, the Africa Environmental Watch (AEW) and many other organizations, have sounded the alarm as an urgent call to action to prevent what we are witnessing now like an epidemic.

We engaged the EPA of Liberia and many other entities and communities about the environment through conferences, workshops, seminars, and hands-on cleanup activities by sounding an alarm on the environment.

Despite these efforts, very little “Political Will” is made to show an interest in the environment.

The current state of solid waste management in Liberia has turned the country into a political environmental drama, a laughingstock, and stigmatized, and Monrovia, the nation’s capital, is seen as the “dirtiest city” in Africa - Why?

It is morally and politically unfathomable how neglectful we’ve been – it further begs the question of governance and love for the country.

It is painful and frustrating to bear witness to this embarrassing ordeal when it could have been avoided, especially when AEW and other organizations have made strides to improve the bad conditions that the environment finds itself in.

The city of Monrovia is littered among other things, with discarded materials, and discarded materials are dangerous to public health and disincentivizes investment that is much needed for economic growth, and social cohesion, and could ignite political tension.

Water and air qualities are at peril because of poor Solid Waste Management. Despite these glaring indicators, there is a constant state of the lack of accountability, and transparency from the government to do the right thing for the good of its people.

Even more perplexing to the trash/garbage dilemma, is how accustomed and acquiesced the other branches of government (Legislature and Judiciary), as some political parties vying for leadership are detached from environmental issues, and so are the religious leaders and some residents who have become absent and complacent to this plight as everybody’s else flows along and accepts the conditions as they are in the country.

There is no outrage and a unified voice to take the government to task and demand action.

Where are the religious leaders (Christians and Muslims)?

In times of crisis and after all else fails, we look up to our religious leaders for comfort, and hope, but it seems there is no hope as this group is radio-silent on these issues.
Even in our diaspora community, the alarm bell is not sounding loud enough for this group to take the environment seriously.

Other threats to the environment are in the mining industry, especially Artisanal mining which is not regulated by the government.

Artisanal mining is destroying the environment and killing residents who are engaged in these activities just to make a living. Deforestation and erosion are also a threat to the Liberian nation, Depleting the reserved forest without equal reforestation and afforestation is a terrible policy.

Our coastal regions are faced with massive erosion from natural or anthropogenic activities and not much has been done to reduce the situation, and the list goes on.

Liberia is not making any progress because the government pays less attention to the environmental crisis on its hands.

There is no way around avoiding these major catastrophes and environmental destruction, particularly the Solid Waste Management because there will be more garbage to be generated due to human population growth. And if nothing is done to curb the situation, the problem will continue to get worse.

No community or nation succeeds in its developmental agenda by trivializing the environment, especially solid waste management. A filthy environment does not attract investment, but it makes human resources nonproductive, threatens public health, and provokes political tension.

It is unfortunate when government officials argue that there are other competing programs other than the environment. The question is, what is even more of a priority than the health of residents nurtured by a clean environment?

Keeping the environment at the bottom of other competing issues is not a sound policy. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

However, not all is lost by all means, and the Liberian government can turn things around for the better, but it requires a robust “political will” led by the President of Liberia.

With Executive Order and an all-hands-on deck approach demanding all businesses and government officials to roll up their sleeves, is a motivational gesture for others to emulate.

This will be a good start.

About the author

Dr. Morris T. Koffa, Sr., is Executive Director,
Africa Environmental Watch. He can be reached at, 240-417-2545. 


Phone (770) 896.5873
Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA