Efforts by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and LIBRA Sanitation to clean Monrovia and to keep it clean seems to face an uphill challeng by the persistent habit of littering throughout the city.
The MCC, LIBRA Sanitation and Chevron have installed trash bins of various sizes on street corners, especially along the Tubman Boulevard and some parts of central Monrovia.
In spite of the availability of these bins, pedestrians habitually drop trash in the streets, apparently with no regard for a clean environment.
Banana, corn (maize), plantain, peanuts, orange and apples are among those usually thrown in the streets.
The condition has also been worsened by the existence of multiplicity of water companies that are bagging water and selling it.
Views solicited from sanitation workers and residents attribute the cause of the uncontrollable littering to a number of reasons.
Some residents and street sellers on Benson Street told this paper that sanitation workers are in the street sweeping every day, and therefore dropping trash in the street means no harm.
A scratch card dealer near the Zion Academy fence stated after dropping water plastic in the street: “My brother, we Liberians need a strong leader who will compel us to adhere to rules and laws. Other than that, no Liberian will be sensitive enough to do what you think is good.”
Some street sweepers on duty said, “The work is not easy and people intentionally drop dirt anywhere they want to, even when we say drop it in the trash can or over the dirt. They usually tell us that we are working for pay and if they don’t waste the dirt in the streets, we will have no work to do to justify the money we make.”
Section 3 of the Monrovia City Ordinance prohibits littering, but despite the existence of the ordinance people are not adhering to it.
It also seems that the public is ignorant of it the MCC does not have any radio program or publication about City Ordinance’s existence and the need to enforce it.
It may be recalled that during the regime of former Mayor Mary Broh, she joined a team of sanitation workers to carry out community awareness, sensitizing people about city ordinances and also arrested people who defied the laws.
In almost all her activities, former Mayor Broh warned people against making the street filthy as well as building make-shift structures along alleys and on the main street.
Although current Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo is making some strides to keep the city clean as evidenced by the daily clean-up crews on foot and on wheels, installing dustbins and truck-buckets at dumpsites in communities; she however, remains opposed to media coverage of her activities.
In May this year, Mayor Mvogo told this reporter that she is not interested in the media but wanted people to see her work and not to make publicity.
“I do not want to be heard in the media and do not like the media. I want my work to be seen by people and not to blow trumpet of things that I do. For that I do not grant media interviews,” she said.
The City has an awareness team that goes around sensitizing communities about their responsibilities toward a cleaner, healthier environment. However, a member of the City of Monrovia community awareness team confided in the Daily Observer just last week, exactly what the scratch card dealer mentioned above had said.
Granted, Mayor Mvogo is no Mary Broh — different spirit, different style of governance and all. And while it is highly respectable to let one’s work speak for oneself, the engagement of mass media as a means to enhance sensitization could be immensely fruitful. The battle is for hearts and minds, to promote behavior change and a more healthy, beautiful environment. For this, the media has be an essential partner.