LIBERIA: Garbage Vs Festive Season – as dirt swallows red light commercial district

By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The poor disposal of garbage in and around Monrovia by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) including the two garbage collection companies, N. C. Sanitors and Zoom-lion remains a serious challenge and a nightmare for residents of the two cities.

Garbage-can over taken by huge stockpile of dirt

Garbage-can over taken by huge stockpile of dirt

Garbage stockpiles in one of the communities at the Redlight Commercial District

Garbage stockpiles in one of the communities at the Redlight Commercial District

Incessant garbage stockpiles

Incessant garbage stockpiles

huge stockpile of dirt

huge stockpile of dirt

Huge piles of garbage are seen especially in public places, along major streets and market sites, “a situation considered embarrassing during this festive season”.

Garbage which is produced by people from their waste products, if not properly handled and carefully disposed can result to the outbreak of pandemic that can also lead to high rate of death just in a single community and then extents to other communities.

In unban cities of the world, ordinances to guide these cities in handling of garbage are put in place which keep the environment very clean and free from pollution, of which Paynesville and Monrovia are no exception.

But regrettable, with the many initiatives put in place by the Monrovia and Paynesville Corporations (two major city governments in and outside Liberia’s Capital, Monrovia” with sanitation support from international partners, residents of the two cities are deeply sinking in dirt and poor health.

The streets are all crowded, least to talk about market places during this festive season and as walks from one point to the other in Paynesville and central Monrovia, street corners and in various communities are occupied with increasing huge stockpiles of garbage on the daily basis.

For the City of Paynesville, the collection and proper disposal of garbage has and continues to be a major problem residents of the City are facing from past City Mayors including the current Acting City Mayor, Cyvette Gibson.

When Madam Gibson was appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf months ago, she promised that her administration will prioritize the disposal of garbage around Paynesville, Liberia’s biggest municipality. Madam Gibson also introduced the “Buy Your Dirt Campaign” to ensure that people are paid for dirt they bring for disposal.

But what is unfolding in Paynesville now concerning garbage collection is a clearer fact that the City will forever remain a City of indisposed garbage, if sincere and concrete actions are not taken by the city government, headed by the Acting Mayor.

Currently, many residents of the Paynesville Commercial District of Red Light have described the “Buy Your Dirt Project by the PCC” as a charade. Many of the petty traders and other marketers who spoke told a WASH R&E Network’s Reporter said: “look the dirt has overtaken this spot that was selected for the project, people are just dumping the dirt and PCC is not disposing it”.

“The dirt has covered the garbage container as you can see for yourself and people have begun burning the garbage because of the PCC’s failure to implement the much publicized Buy Your Dirt Project” they pointed out.

One of the marketers who only identified himself as Arthur said: “the dirt is covering large portion the of our selling area on the daily basis because if we leave the market in the evening, the next day we returned, we have to go back few feet from the original place we were and this is embarrassing”.

He admitted that “the garbage is causing serious health hazard for us but where we are is where we can get our daily bread to feed ourselves and the many dependents we have, but frankly speaking we are dying slowly”.

But what is much troubling for residents of Paynesville and the Commercial District of Red Light is that the filthiness will be part of their festival season’s celebration as the PCC, under the leadership of Madam Gibson is reneging on its promise to ensure a clean and healthy environment.

The Paynesville Acting City Mayor has just returned from the United States on a 3-month vacation, and it seems that she’s doing little or nothing as her return or her presence at the government’s furnished offices still speaks of her absence.

Madam Gibson at one of her press conferences reiterated PCC’ commitment to ensuring a sanitary free Paynesville city, but this is yet to be seen as the garbage is accumulating every day.

At one point, the Paynesville Acting City Mayor squarely put the slow pace in the garbage collection to the lack of equipment by the City and furthermore blamed N. C. Sanitors and Zoom-Lion for the huge stockpiles of garbage.

On the other hand, the two garbage companies operating in Liberia with funding from the World Bank have continuously attributed to the collection to the bad road leading to the Monrovia City Corporation Sold Waste Site in the Whientown Community in Paynesville, Montserrado County, several miles from the country’s capital, Monrovia.

The nearly one mile main road leading to various cells’ components built in Wheintown where the garbage should be dumped and treated is yet to be done though the World Bank has since released that funding and it is the alternative route which is indeed very deplorable especially during the rainy season.

Worst of all the over ten thousand residents of Whein Town Community have threatened to shortly stage a protest as the dry season is already where and nothing is being done to address the issues of bad road and untreated garbage stoke piles.

During the dry season residents of the area usually experienced huge swam of flies, ants and contaminated water from the garbage dumped on the land surface that has grown to the size of a mountain.

They also told WASH, Acting PCC City Mayor can talk too much and do less work, “noting that what we want now is let her change the too much talking and take real actions to make our city clean and healthy.

When contacted, the Paynesville City authorities refused to speak on the issue, but promised to respond appropriately.