Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Lake Shepherd Turns Defecating Ground
There are two major lakes in Liberia, Lake Piso in Grand Cape Mount County and Lake Shepherd in Maryland County.
The two lakes are situated along the Atlantic Ocean, and are characterized by vast expanse of wetlands as well as lowland forest vegetation.
The beautiful Lake Shepherd in Maryland County, southeastern Liberia about 500 miles from Monrovia was one of the Liberia’s leading tourism sites for its breathtaking view.
Lake Shepherd is about seven kilometers long and less than one 1 kilometer wide. It is often described as a long and narrow lagoon paralleled to the coast.
The coastal area of the Lake is characterized by narrow sandy beaches separated by rocky promontories and are backed by broad rolling savannahs.
The calm waters and coconut trees studded coast offered the kind of relaxation that tourists gladly enjoy.
But the Lake Shepherd is now a sand-mining site and defecating ground for many residents of the City of Harper; scores of people, mainly young boys spend almost all day on the shores of the lake loading trucks with sand.
“I come here every day to ‘hustle’ for my daily bread; when ever I load a truck, I am paid LD$150.00; and sometimes we load three-to-four tracks a day…,” a young boy said.
Another boy, believed to be a student, dressed in the Harper High School uniform had just defecated at the Lake when The NEWS visited the area. He said they were constrained to use the shores of the Lake due to the lack of toilet facilities in most communities in the city.
The shores of Lake Shepherd are being taken over by bushes with awful odors caused by human feces.
When contacted, Harper City Mayor Regina Sampson said the lack of toilet facilities in many communities in the city was posing serious challenge to the city government.
Madam Sampson said due to the lack of toilet facilities in homes and communities, the residents are constrained to either use the shores of the lake or other areas to defecate.
It can be recalled that in 2007, the Abidjan Convention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that the population along the coastal zone is growing at an alarming rate of about 4 to 5 percent and that the rapid population growth along these coastal zones has resulted into the destruction of social values, culture, socioeconomic dislocation and conflicts in addition to the serious degradation of the environment.
Social problems created in these areas include inadequate housing facilities, poor state of education and health facilities, poor public hygiene, and high crime rate resulting from high levels of unemployment and poverty.
The document further stated that many of the coastal urban settlements in the country lack essential elements of infrastructure which give rise to poor health conditions and to environment that is not conducive to a reasonable quality of life, even though social conditions are sometimes often satisfactory.
Background of Maryland County
Maryland was first established as a colony of the Maryland State Colonization Society 1834, but was not granted independence until 1854.
The Maryland colony declared its independence from the Colonization Society but did not become part of the Republic of Liberia. It held the land along the coast between the Grand Cess and San Pedro Rivers.
In 1856, the independent state of Maryland in Africa requested military aid from Liberia in a war with the Grebo and Kru ethnic groups who were resisting the Maryland settlers' efforts to control their trade in slaves.
President Joseph J. Roberts assisted the Marylanders, and a joint military campaign by both groups of Americo-Liberian colonists resulted in victory.
On February 28, 1857, the Republic of Maryland joined Liberia as Maryland County. Writes, Sam Zota, Jr.