Wash Commission Embarks On Robust Measures in Sector -Subjects Beverages Companies to Wash Certificate to Operate
By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Chairman of the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (NWASHC), Ambassador Bobby Whitefield says “Liberians will continue to languish in poverty if their water, sanitation and hygiene condition is not improved”, noting that the time has come for the commission to institute genuine measures that will improve the sector.
Making the disclosure Wednesday at his Monrovia Sinkor office, the Wash Commission Chairman disclosed that some of the companies that are bagging water and bottling beverages do not have health certificates and their facilities are poorly sanitized, something which he said the Commission is going to work against to ensure that the best quality water and beverage products are the ones appearing on the Liberian markets.
The NWASHC boss indicated that access to safe drinking water, sanitation and adequate hygiene services remains essential human rights priorities that will improve health, welfare and development globally, amidst the global concern, adding that the WASH sector is an essential conduit to lift Liberians from poverty.
Amb. Whitefield noted that the government is ready and is engaging stakeholders including factories, companies, and communities to ensure robust reform that will set standard for businesses that are providing services for the population. He indicated that his commission will establish a national standard for water and beverages across the country called “Digital Wash Stem,” noting that businesses without the “Digital Wash Stem” will not be allowed to function in Liberia.
He disclosed that when the government took over in 2018, Liberia was sitting at 76 percent at having access to basic coverage of water. “We will move Liberia’s 76 percent mark beyond 85 percent by the time the next report comes out next year,” he bragged.
While expressing optimism, Whitefield said the Commission is on track in insuring that the Liberian population have access to safe drinking water and ends opened defecation through the national road map that has been developed.
According to him, the Commission is going to test and approve all water and beverage products before they are placed in the Liberian market for public consumption. “They all will be tested to ensure that they pass the Digital Wash Stem before they are placed on the markets,” he said.
“We want to see more businesses continue to produce water, but we will not compromised the health of the people. It is about time we look up for the health of the people by providing gonium solution as we regulate the water producing companies”, he asserted, adding that the measure will be solution oriented, and will also affect imported water and beverages.
Similarly, Amb. Whitefield said the Commission has the legal mandate under the law to ensure that all businesses operating in the country be made to obtain ‘Sanitary Standard Certificate.’ “We are going to revamp the sector by issuing Sanitary Standard Certificate to all businesses across Liberia, stressing that all businesses must obtained the Certificate before they can function in the sector.
He said the issuance of the Certificate to businesses will validate that an entity’s facility has been inspected and certified for operation, and that the NWASHC inspectors will be visit these commercial facilities to ensure that the measures are not violated. He described the Commission as a revenue generation entity that is also working to replenish government covers.
He added that the Commission is working on WASH Science Certificate “We are studying the WASH Science Certificate that permits our people to be regulated in the WASH sector”, while calling on Liberians to change their behavior of disposing dirt and contribute toward keeping the environment clean.
The NWASHC boss furthered revealed that almost 1.2 million people representing about 42 percent of the Liberian population are practicing opened defecation in Liberia, which according to him the Commission is working on to end through the national road map.
Meanwhile Ambassador Whitefield has extolled the Liberian Government and their international partners for tremendously supporting the WASH sector over the years, saying the Commission was able to distribute washing hand materials to institutions and communities across the country against the spread of the coronavirus, and trained eight data analysts and 60 regulators.
Meanwhile, he noted that in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the global community pledged to achieve universal coverage of safe drinking water