A three-day clean-up campaign of the foul smelling and revolting septic drains running through Newport Street and several other slum communities of Soniewhein and Buzzy Quarters in the capital, Monrovia, kicked off yesterday Thursday.
The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) initiated the long overdue project with support from Oxfam, an international relief agency which provides poverty and disaster relief in many countries around the world. The theme of the gutter cleaning project is “Operation Clean the Sonie.”
The fetid drains are fertile breeding sites for flies, mosquitos and other disease carrying insects. The foul smell from the drains is a source of irritation and embarrassment to community residents.
Dozens of wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and rain boots as well as face-masks and gloves were turned over to the leadership of Montserrado County Electoral District #8 focal person to carry out the revolting but necessary feat.
The drains run with feces and garbage of all sorts thrown in them by community residents who then suffer the stench of their refuse all year round.
The chairman of Soniewhein and Electoral District #8 of Montserrado County, Abel Glaysuah, said 20 youths from each of the four communities have been contracted for the unenviable job of cleaning the nasty drains.
The four communities include Newport Street, Buzzy Quarters, Soniewhein, Lynch and Center Streets.
Mr. Glaysuah said each of the 80 youths will be paid the amount of US$5 per day, summing up to US$15 for the three days of work (from yesterday, April 30 to Saturday, May 2.)
“We are glad that MCC and Oxfam are helping us to clean the drains which pose a serious health hazard to the communities,” Mr. Glaysuah said.
The project, he said, is the first of its kind that the MCC has undertaken since the leaderships of those communities were elected in August last year.
Mr. Glaysuah then expressed the hope that the MCC would extend the project to other areas outside of Montserrado Electoral District #8.
In separate remarks, the Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC), Charles Allen, and Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Claude Langley, challenged the youths from the communities to keep the gutters clean at all times, be it rainy or dry season.
They admonished residents to stop dumping garbage in the gutters as the clogging of the drains will not support good health and the free flow of water.
Monrovia City Mayor Clara Mvogo, urged the leadership of the communities to take charge of the drains and maintain them throughout the year.
She expressed appreciation to LWCS authorities for collaborating with their counterparts at the Ministry of Public Works to clean the drains.