By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – Near the historic Providence Island in Monrovia is a community that has experienced and continues to go through the huddles of poor sanitation.
Slipway Community is amongst several Slum communities in and around Monrovia lacking safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Slipway, with a population of over fifteen thousand inhabitants often suffer from poor drainage system, lack of garbage bin and public toilets.
With the rainy season, the situation has gone from bad to worse thereby resulting to a crisis proportion.
The community has been placed under a spotlight due to crucial sanitation issues, as part of the Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation by the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, with support from WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone.
During the Media spotlight and assessment, residents of the area complained about the lack of hand pumps, public toilets and a conducive and hygienic environment due to poor sanitation.
Majority of the residents in the area are said to be using the Du River as public latrine.
Most of the residents built goal post toilets on the river where they go to defecate thus polluting the river.
A resident told WASH R&E that a boy got drowned recently in the area as a result of using a goal post toilet on the DU River(he slipped and fell into the river).
The residents however said though it’s risky using the goal post toilets over the Du River, they continue to do so because they lack public toilets.
“We have to stand in long queues especially during morning and evening hours awaiting others to come out of the few toilets to also have access”, A resident, Ceceilia Nyenpan discosed. “We the women and children are the worst victims”, she also pointed out, describing the situation as embarrassing.
The issue of open defecation is another factor that is seriously contributing to insanitary condition in the community.
Many houses in the areas were constructed without taking into consideration the importance of toilet, resulting to open defecation and the throwing of feces everywhere.
“During night hours, plastic bags are used by some residents to defecate and it is thrown in the open, at times in the drainage” Rufus Towerson a prominent resident informed the WASH Media Network.
According to Mr. Towerson, feces are also thrown over the top of houses and when the rain falls, the water is even used by some residents for cooking.
He also attributed the poor sanitary condition to some individuals residing up the Crown Hill community who lack toilet facilities too.
Mr. Towerson noted that these individuals defecate in plastic and throw the feces from the top of their community into Slipway which is located beneath Crown Hill.
This insanitary practice according to Towerson, poses danger to the environment especially during the rainy season.
WASH R&E also gathered that due to the closure of the drainage in the community, when it rains many parts of the community get flooded thus creating an unbearable situation for the residents.
Access to safe drinking water is another factor hampering the lives of residents in the area.
Residents informed the WASH Media Network that many of them have to walk across the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, a bridge connecting Central Monrovia to the Bushrod Island in search of safe drinking water.
The Slipway Community does not have access to safe drinking water and lacks hand pumps facilities as well.
Many of the pumps provided by few nongovernmental organizations are either damaged due to poor maintenance and community ownership, or increased pressure by users.
The residents told WASH R&E they usually buy a gallon of pump water from the Clara Town Community between 50 to 75 Liberian dollars, something they described as very expensive and unbearable.
In a related development, Slipway residents are appealing to the Government of Liberia and partners in the WASH sector to provide WASH facilities for them.
They also appealed for assistance in addressing the sanitation crisis, which could result to health outbreak if nothing is urgently done to address the situation.