LIBERIA: Garbage Nightmare “PCC, LMA Lack Capacity to Collect Waste”

 ….As Residents Express Fears of Ebola – By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The constant delay by some local city authorities and waste management companies in the country to dispose waste in and around Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is one of the mean factors that have caused huge stockpile of garbage to be seemed in several quarters of the city.

Waste with unpleasant smelling water and flies & mosquitoes

Waste with unpleasant smelling water and flies & mosquitoes

Garbage stockpile at Poultry Farm, Coal Field Market site, Paynesville

Garbage stockpile at Poultry Farm, Coal Field Market site, Paynesville

Dirt taking over the main street in Jacob Town, Paynesville

Dirt taking over the main street in Jacob Town, Paynesville

Huge Garbage at Parker Paint Community

Huge Garbage at Parker Paint Community

Garbage stockpile, near the Redlight Commercial District in Paynesville

Garbage stockpile, near the Redlight Commercial District in Paynesville

The delay of waste disposal which may result to the over-still that would cause the dirt to get rotten and to leak stink water that could lead to an outbreak of a pandemic in some of those communities, especially as national government and international partners are struggling very hard to battle the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia and the sub-region.

With the hallowed statutory mandate of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) including the two World Bank sponsored waste management entities, N.C. Sanitors and LIBRA Sanitation (replacing Zoom-Loin), the proper and adequate disposal of garbage in Monrovia and its environs remains unabated.

But someone who will be so concerned about seeing Monrovia to be tidy may ask why the disposal of garbage remains unabated? The frequent response of the mentioned above waste entities, is always attributed to the bad starch of road to the MCC Solid Waste Dump Site in Whein Town, Paynesville, Montserrado County. This according to them, makes it difficult to regularly collect the over stayed huge piles of garbage and dispose them.

However, in the wake of the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, some residents in Monrovia, mainly in the Parker Paint and Poultry Farm communities in Paynesville have constantly complained of huge stockpiles of garbage in their respective areas that are very, very much detrimental to their health.

Terry Dahn, Dauoda Kromah and Jestina Payne said: “This garbage infront the former Parker Paint Company is an embarrassment for us in this community”.

 “The offensive odor coupled with swan of flies and ants is making life for residents unbearable as you can see”, they told Reporters from WASH R&E Network.

According to Messrs Dahn, Kromah and Ms. Payne, the dirt has spent over eight months in their community and that PCC including waste management companies responsible for the collection continue to renege on the responsibility.

The three residents said due to the garbage which is closed to the Monrovia-Kakata Highway had forced other business people to move because of the flies and bad odors, even to the extent that a dead body of a young baby was found in the dirt.

They allegedly accused marketers from the Red Light market as well as residents from Soul Clinic and the Pipeline Communities of attributing to the huge garbage in the Parker Paint area.

In the Poultry Farm Community where the Coal Field Market is located, the Youth Leader for the Area, Oscar Omaskar and a Business man Varney Flomo, said the dirt in their community has been in the area since 2009 up to present.

Messrs Omaskar and Flomo alleged that PCC and N.C. Sanitors are responsible for the disposal of garbage from the waste site but the two entities will come at close of the day and at time remove one or two truck load thus causing the garbage to accumulate every day that has now turned into a mountain, showing the huge garbage to WASH Reporters.

“And what is more a risk to our lives, is that the only hand pump were the over three thousand inhabitants can fetch water is few feet from the stockpile of waste” they pointed out.

Messrs Omaskar and Flomo said other residents use water from the hand pump which is located near the garbage for cooking, drinking and the washing of cloth, while others who are financial potent can usually buy mineral water to drink.

They told WASH Reporters, as part of the Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation that the situation of the dirt in the community is worrisome especially in the wake of the Ebola virus outbreak in the country, as health workers continue to advice seriously that Ebola can easily survive in wet and dirty places.

The residents of Parker Paint and the Poultry Farm Communities are calling on relevant government ministries, agencies and waste management companies to urgently dispose the garbage in their areas as the waste is life threatening for them mainly their children.

When the President of the Liberia Marketing Association, Lusu Sloan was contacted on the residents’ allegations, she said: “the disposal of garbage from the Commercial District of Red Light is an age old problem that is yet to be solved”.

Madam Sloan Disclosed that a contract to remove garbage from the various markets was reached between LMA and PCC but she reported that the Paynesville City Corporation is not doing much to live up to the contract signed.

“Let me make something clear to you WASH Journalists, “the huge garbage around the various market places are not produced from the marketers alone but residents of nearby communities like Poultry Farm, Gobachop and Parker Paint  Communities” she emphasized.

The President of the Liberia Marketing Association said the Association is doing it best but the proper handling of waste in the Red Light Market area can only be done through a collective effort, involving PCC, waste management companies, LMA and residents in the vicinity of the various markets.

However, authorities at the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) has clarified that the PCC was not a part of an agreement to collect garbage from around Paynesville and market places in the Commercial District of Red Light as reported by the LMA President.

PCC Communications Director, Jeni Jallah reported that the agreement for the collection of garbage in the municipality of Paynesville was among N.C. Sanitors, Zoom Lion (undergoing World’s Bank’s suspension) and the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) including the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA)”.

Ms. Jallah narrated that the agreement among the four entities ended in 2013 leaving the collection of garbage in Paynesville in a state of vacuum.

“What you see PCC doing most of the time by disposing garbage in and around Paynesville from selected and un-selected locations as well as market places, is part and parcel of our city ordinance responsibilities by keeping the City clear”, Ms. Jallah pointed out.

She clarified that the Paynesville City Corporation has not received a cent from the Liberia Marketing Association for the collection of garbage from the various market sites as been told by LMA authority.

Ms. Jallah however admitted that the huge stockpile of garbage in Paynesville is due to lack of logistics by PCC,  has to rent trucks before the disposal of waste is done by the Paynesville City Corporation, something, she said is causing the Corporation financial burdens.

 She disclosed that the two compact trucks and hundred skip–buckets from Turkey had since arrived in the country but cannot be used now because the official turning-over ceremony which should have taken place was thwarted as the result of the Ebola outbreak in the country.

“A team from Turkey was here and conducted an orientation of some PCC workers on how to operate the trucks but look where we are today as the result of the Ebola outbreak, the trucks are packed” Ms. Jallah disclosed.

On the lack of proper handling of dirt in the Red Light area, PCC Communications Director pointed out that PCC is currently conducting a survey in the various markets on marketers who are not using the skip buckets but are constantly spreading the waste all over the market places.

She admitted that the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) lacks the capacity to fully manage garbage collection in and around the city of Paynesville due s serious logistical gap, and called for intervention to help keep the city clean and green.