By Antoinette Sendolo
As Liberia recovers from the 14 years of civil unrest which affected every fabric of the Liberian society including the water supply, improve sanitation access and good hygiene practice, residence of West Point face huge challenge and have alarmed over poor sanitation and the lack of access to safe drinking water in the community.
According to one of the community dwellers, Nelly Cooper, due to the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, women and children are feeling the brunt of the unfavourable situation.
She added that there are insufficient toilets available and base on that, many people use or build latrines over the water while others openly defacate in the community.
”It is difficult for us to get safe drinking water here in West Point so we normally buy drinking water from people who pass in the community with gallons of water but we don’t know where the water is taken from and the water we use to bathe and cook is untreated and it is giving us some skin diseases, ”she stated further.
Speaking also was district # 7 Representative Solomon George who also named water supply as a major problem in West Point noting that the government has not done well in addressing the issue of water and sanitation in that part of the country.
Rep. George added that residents of West Point lack the basic access to safe drinking water asserting that there are no conducive hand pumps where citizens of district 7 can fetch safe drinking water.
He spoke when he served as the keynote speaker at the World Water Day celebration in West Point.
Meanwhile, The CEO of the Triad Global solutions Nigeria Limited Gene Kirwin Atkinson has come to Liberia to introduce contemporary water purification equipment in order to help Liberians especially those in rural and slum communities have access to safe drinking water.
According to Mr Atkinson, the equipment purifies more than 10,000 liters of water a day and it takes at least two minutes to have the water purified.
”This newly introduced water purification equipment is good because it purifies the water for drinking, no matter how contaminated the water can be but the equipment is not effective for water from the sea, ”he advised.
The cost of the modern water purification equipment is eleven thousand United States dollars according to Gene Kirwin Atkinwin.
While it is true that the equipment might be a help to addressing the water problem across the country but the million dollar question is Can Liberians in rural and slum communities purchase this equipment?
Liberia is signatory to documents protecting human rights to water and sanitation amongst those international instruments in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which sets specific targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and empowering women by 2015. Regarding water and sanitation, the relevant targets of the MDGs are to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015, the year that marks the end of the ‘Water for Life Decade’.