Environmental pollution in central Monrovia is increasing, raising serious concern and discomfort among pedestrians and some residents.
Around central Monrovia extending to the Sinkor belt, plots of land lie unoccupied while some display abandoned and demolished buildings, the rusting remains of vehicles and yellow machines. These abandoned lots are also home to used car dealerships, car wash and squatters doing all kinds of businesses including crush rock sale.
On some empty lots and in abandoned houses, insane persons and normal alike, defecate, while community dwellers also dump garbage that cause a fetid odor in the environment.
Many pedestrians encountered on the Capitol By-pass complained about pollution caused by human waste in the area, recalling the days of former acting Mayor of Monrovia, Mary Broh, when most parts of the city were kept clean and people were uncompromisingly restricted from littering.
“If Mary Broh were still here, these bad smelling properties with garbage scattered on them would have been broken down and the land leased to be developed, but now people just build shanty structures along the road and crazy people go to the toilet in them,” one passer-by complained.
“Our so-called lawmakers are the ones who went against the woman and took her from there because they thought doing that was a good thing they did so we can reelect them. See the poopoo (feces) water flowing all around here making people to breathe bad air. But they lied, we will get them out of that place in 2017 just as the other Senators are gone now,” a female in the company said.
Specifically in the Capitol By-pass area where the complaints began, filthy and stink water from septic tanks flow in open gutters along the side of the road.
Those residing and sitting there by their small businesses have no option but to inhale the bad scent and spit out saliva all day long.
After the Don-Kan petroleum depot, there are empty lots near the main road also occupied by demolished houses filled with dirt and used by people without toilet facilities to ease themselves or throw their feces. Anyone walking in this area has no option but to cover his or her nose with a face towel or handkerchief in total suffocation before passing.
Besides the many abandoned lots and houses used for toilets in central Monrovia, the city has no public latrine facilities for the huge crowds converging there for different reasons on a daily basis.
Many Liberians, especially men are used to freely urinating in the open on walls without regard for privacy or hygiene and the lack of public toilet facilities is one tangible reason encouraging uncontrollable human waste in the city.
The first Saturday clean-up schedule introduced by former Mayor Broh, is still enforced while sanitation companies in Monrovia have employed teams of sweepers to clean the streets daily.
Nevertheless, the idea that it is government’s responsibility to clean up the environment is stamped in the minds of many Liberians, leading them to deliberately throw trash in the streets without regard for cleanliness. It is hoped that the parents, schools, even churches are training the younger generation and even today’s adults on the responsibilities and benefits of keeping our environment clean.