Monrovia, Paynesville Christmas Amid Depressing Garbage Sites

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A two-week old mountain of garbage at the nation's largest food market, Red Light, Paynesville

Anger, threats and frustration with municipal governments

An apparently familiar and never ending scenario is again unfolding for residents, business people and visitors in Monrovia and Paynesville who appear ill-fated to observe the celebrations of Christmas and New Year amid the squalid and nauseating stench of mountains of garbage that authorities of both cities have allowed to pile up.

The public is yet to see the kind of work required to be done by the two heads of the municipal governments of Paynesville and Monrovia to rid the municipalities of huge piles of offensive garbage  at market places and along the main streets of both cities.

Even though marketers are required to pay daily fees for the removal and disposal of garbage, they and their customers doing business in the three densely populated urban markets of Waterside, Douala and Red Light have to endure stinking mountains of garbage breeding disease carrying insects which contaminate produce and hasten their decay.

Already, business people have started trooping to Monrovia and Paynesville for goods and services that are not easily available in the interior parts of the country.

Sadly, they are constrained and compelled to come to terms with the unending menace of  uncollected garbage and the grave sanitation crisis in Monrovia and Paynesville.

City dwellers as well as rural Liberian businessmen and women have expressed outrage, disgust, anger and frustration with the municipal heads of Monrovia and Paynesville because of the health hazard posed by the garbage that is usually left uncollected for weeks at a time.

As a result shoppers and business people alike encounter much difficulty navigating their way through nasty garbage and filth at the four commercial hubs of Red Light, Douala, Waterside and Rally Time.

The World Bank and collaborating partners have invested substantial resources in the waste management program of the two cities, but people are yet to see tangible and practical results. The Wein Town garbage disposal site, for example, is a project sponsored by the World Bank that is currently stalled due to administrative and management problems.

Local residents have time and again complained about the foul air from rotten garbage deposited at that site, which they say is polluting their communities, adding that no redress has been forthcoming from the concerned authorities, even though residents have complained almost endlessly.

In reaction to these public concerns, both city mayors have on many occasions argued that residents, business entities and ordinary Liberians do not want to subscribe to Community Based Enterprises (CBEs); whatever that means.

But, residents and business entities in counter-reaction told the Daily Observer on Tuesday that both city corporations are collecting annual municipal taxes, but are yet to use those funds for the collection and disposal of the mountains of garbage piles in Monrovia and Paynesville.

During encounters and interviews with the Daily Observer at the Red Light and Douala Markets on Monday, residents intimated that it is indeed a disgrace to the nation and its people that the two major cities of Paynesville and Monrovia are marred by spreading piles of garbage.

“We are always sad, frustrated and angry upon setting eyes on those embarrassing garbage dumpsites and associated multiple diseases that are so harmful to us and the rest of Liberians going through such unsanitary conditions every day in our cities,” businessman Robert Saye of Sanniquellie lamented.

He stressed the urgent need for both mayors to wake up from their slumber and do something more practical about the grave sanitation crisis in Monrovia and Paynesville.

Businesswoman Elizabeth Nora Stewart of Gbarnga, Bong County noted the two city mayors ‘must stop the unnecessary bickering and vague arguments and put their houses in order’ to tackle the sanitation crisis that has engulfed their cities over the years.

“I had hoped to see some green cities in Montserrado County after I had spent almost nine months in rural Liberia breathing fresh and natural air from the rivers and streams, that experience made me to realize that our cities of Monrovia and Paynesville are in such bad environmental conditions,” Stewart stressed.

She added that as rural Liberians, they are contemplating taking serious actions against the city mayors of Monrovia and Paynesville in order to compel them to institute measures that will enhance the collection and disposal of the mountains of garbage in the two urban cities of Montserrado County.

But just what those measures are and how they intend to implement them remains unclear.

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