LIBERIA: Poor Sanitation and flooding overwhelm Monrovia Residents

By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The issue of the lack of access to safe drinking water, poor sanitation and flooding has become a nightmare for many residents in the nation’s capital, Monrovia.

Kids standing in front of a local toilet on the Stockton Creek, where they had gone to use

Kids standing in front of a local toilet on the Stockton Creek, where they had gone to use

Flooding and poor sanitation In Logan Town Community on the Bushrod Island

Flooding and poor sanitation In Logan Town Community on the Bushrod Island

Mountain of Garbage in Poultry Farm Community, Paynesville

Mountain of Garbage in Poultry Farm Community, Paynesville

Flooding and poor sanitation in Jamaica Road Community

Flooding and poor sanitation in Jamaica Road Community

The unbearable issue leading problems and conditions, posed serious health hazard to residents and the communities in which they live.

Huge piles of garbage can been seen alongside the main streets in and around the capital city.

The problem becomes more serious during the rainy season, especially at the peak of the rain.

Not only communities, but market centers were food items are sold also face this grave issue of sanitation.

Poultry Farm  in the commercial district of Red-light and the Parker Paint Community, not too far from the Coca Cola Factory on the main stretch leading to Kakata City are some of the areas  worst hit by poor sanitation.

The issue of the timely removal of garbage in these two areas has become a blame game amongst service providers and market authorities.

As part of its Exclusive Media Focus on sanitation with support from WaterAid in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) continues to highlighting issues surrounding sanitation, safe drinking water and flooding in and around Monrovia.

Jamaica Road, Logan Town, Poultry Farm and Parker Paint Communities are now on the spot light.

“The issue of poor sanitation for me as a resident of Parker Paint Community appears to be an unending matter, with no remedy insight”, a mechanic Dauda Kromah  asserted.

The dirt which has over stayed for more than three months is now obstructing the free flow of traffic in the area.

 “The garbage here at time closed up the main entrance to this compound, even eating in this area is so difficult because of the presence of an army of flies”, Dauda Kromah  added.

Mr. Kromah told WASH R&E that the presence of the dirt unprecedented as it is driving away customers from their garage.

“The last time a dead baby was found in this garbage, we called the authorities no one responded to our call until the baby got rotten.” Kromah added

For Patience Kpan , a business woman  operating a cook shop in the area, disclosed that she has lost many customers due to bad odor of the dumpsite.

Miss Kpan informed WASH R&E that she was forced to close down her shop due to the invasion of army of flies from the garbage.

She blamed the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) for its weakness in making sure that dirt is cleared in a timely manner.

Entering Poultry Farm for a first time as a visitor, you will be greeted by the unpleasant odor and the unhygienic appearance of a community that pays host to ten thousand residents and a market center.

The pile of dirt in the area has developed into a mountain for the past two years with no sign of it been removed.

“We are holding the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) responsible for not doing its job”, Junior Nyumah, Field Operations Officer of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) stressed.

Mr. Nyumah noted that the PCC has failed to remove the dirt from the area despite numerous calls on the part of the LMA Management and residents.

He said the presence of the dirt is hampering business activities in the area as the offensive scent frightens buyers away.

A stone throw away from the mountain of garbage in the area is a hand pump from which majority of the residents fetch water for cooking and bathing and drinking.

“We are tired of appealing to authorities concerned to remove this dirt for a protracted period”, Oscar Maka, Youth Chairman said.

The youth chairman speaking in a furious tune, indicated that the community has engaged the LMA, PCC and other service providers to remove the dirt but to no avail.

Also speaking , a  tailor in the area , Melvin Bolego said that due to unhealthy appearance  of the community , many of their customers have stop doing business with them .

“We are in a daily battle with flies when eating”, Melvin stated

For  Jamaica Road and Logan town Communities, poor sanitation and flooding are posing serious challenge to residents.

“When it rains, water enters most of the houses in these slum communities, with feces seen in plastic bags floating  on top of flood water”  Jebbeh Fahnbulleh disclosed.

The two communities mentioned lack public toilet facilities and safe drinking water or hand pumps.

From an investigation carried out by WASH R&E, most of the residents lack toilet facilities, thus giving increase to Open Defecation, with some of the residents using the river to defecate.

The residents told the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia (WASH R&E) that since the outbreak of the Ebola virus, the price of a gallon of water has also climbed high.

“If you cannot afford the price of a gallon of water, you might likely drink water from the wells around which is not safe for drinking”, Fatu Dennis lamented.

Fatu believers that there is a need for coordinated efforts from government and partners to solve the issues of improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

Meanwhile, authorities of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) and other service providers responsible to remove the dirt have acknowledged the situation of the long stay of garbage, but promised to speak to the media as soon as possible.

Investigation continues….