By: WASH R&E “Media” – The constant misuse of drainages in Monrovia and its surroundings, has claimed the attention of several concerned individuals and institutions, especially the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E). The Network has alarmed over the situation and hopes something is quickly done to address the issue.
The abuse of the drainages is not only creating embarrassment to the once green and beautiful city of Monrovia, but is causing serious health hazard for residents.
The constant misuse of drainages by residents in Monrovia and its environs is creating bad odor in many parts of the city as well as blocking the free flow of water and feces, especially from the central sewer line. The bad smell comes mainly from the Soniwein Drainage which is considered the biggest drainage in the city.
Amongst some communities in Monrovia where residents are in the constant habit of misusing drainages are Soinwein, situated between Camp Johnson Road and UN Driver, the Lynch and Randall Streets area from the Ministry of Public Works to and the Church of Nazarene and Buzzi Quarter, a stone throw from the Executive Mansion.
Others are Clara town, Doe Community, Jamaica Road, Free Port Community and Bushrod Island Community, among others.
For Soniwein, it is a community with the habitants of over ten thousand and that two of Monrovia’s largest drainages are passing through the community ending into the Atlanta Ocean on the side of the Barclay Training Center (the BTC) or South Beach.
One of the drainages runs from behind the Rally Time Market which was built under the Administration of Liberia’s 19th President, the later Rev. Dr. William Richard Tolbert, while the other passes on the right side of the Antoinette Tubman Sports Stadium and NICOL, an alcohol industry company.
The concern of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia about the misuse of drainages in and around Monrovia comes few weeks to the celebration of World Water Day.
WASH R&E is currently doing media coverage and reportage ahead of the return of WASH Hour, a popular radio magazine Show now sponsored by the Liberia WASH Consortium, with funding from Irish Aid.
As part of the media coverage and reportage, a WASH Reporter visited the Soniwein Community and saw the drainage full with garbage and feces.
At the intersection of Clay Street and UN Drive near the drainage where a group of young people were selling water, they told our Reporter that the misuse of drainages is giving the community bad odor and causing health hazard for them, but pointed out that they had no option. One of the water sellers, Varney Kollie said “the filthiness of the drainage you see here today is every year experience that we residents go through especially during the Dry Season”.
Another water seller, only identified as Emmanuel indicated that “we the young people of the community are tired because every now and then we can try our best to keep the drainage clean during the dry season but as we get through the next day the drainage condition gets worst”.
The residents also blamed themselves, because according to them, the misuse of the Soniwein drainage is caused by residents who are living on the upper side of the community with houses closed to the drainage and many of the residents in buildings with up-stairs.
On several occasions, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) on many times has cleaned that Drainage, as well as the UNDP and UNMIL under their Quick Impart Initiatives through the residents of the Community but the cleanliness of the drainage cannot be maintained.
As part of the WASH Reporter’s visit, he observed that many of the houses built in the Soniwein community don’t have septic tanks but their toilet and bathroom pipes are connected to the drainages.
Another drainage that is being misused which has also drawn the attention of the WASH Media Network is in Buzzi Quarter, a community located behind the former Labor Ministry Building.
As you pass along that drainage in the community it is just the same scenario of the Soniwein drainage, and what is more troubling residents of the two communities are flies, mosquitoes, rats and cockroaches, among other harmful inserts.
Meanwhile, Monrovia’s polluted drainage system has sparked public outcry, calling for collective efforts to ensure proper cleaning and maintenance of drainages in and around the city of Monrovia.