Monrovia’s Drainage System A Sanitation Nightmare

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Liberians and foreign residents from all walks of life have described the condition of Monrovia’s open drainages as unhealthy and a sanitation nightmare.

The golden promise made by Public Works Minister William Gyude Moore some time ago that Monrovia’s drainages will be maintained under his Ministry, is now comfortably on what some residents call “perpetual ice.”

During a midday tour of central Monrovia and its environs on Tuesday, it was visible that a majority, if not all sections of the uncovered drainages are clogged, with grass growing wild in some of them.

To make matters worse, residents on some streets and in communities in Monrovia that over the years built houses and other structures on the borders of the open drainage system have installed pipes projecting into the drainages to dispose of waste from their bathrooms. This is in addition to residents throwing their household and business garbage into the drains on a daily basis.

The practice of disposing such waste into the open drains have greatly contributed to the unsanitary condition of many of Monrovia’s rural and urban settlements such as Bushrod Island, Duala, Old Road, Buzzy Quarter, Soneiwein and many more.

Such behaviour on the part of residents in Central Monrovia, is gravely contributing to the city’s endless sanitation crises.

The health of residents of the communities near the open, clogged drainages is constantly in serious danger of any disease outbreak. The bush, garbage, plastic, sewer and other waste stagnating in the structures create the perfect breeding ground for water and air borne disease carriers such as flies, mosquitoes, rats, cockroaches, wild spiders, scorpions and more.

The bushy grass already growing in some of the clogged drainages have escalated the problem of stagnation and hindered the free flow of water through these structures.

A few months ago, Public Works Minister William Gyude Moore told a team of Daily Observer reporters that a well-designed plan was afoot to clean Monrovia’s clogged drainages during the just ended dry season.

That cardinal promise by Minister Moore is yet to be seen as the rainy season has already started in earnest.

In Monrovia and Paynesville, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who is not intensely critical about the unsanitary, offensive and unacceptable conditions prevailing in most communities. Everywhere this reporter went residents, business people, school authorities and many others who share the common space through which the drainage systems run, described it as a sanitation crisis and an unending nightmare.

Mr. Fineboy B. Dennis, 38, of United Nations Drive told this newspaper that the drainage system needs to be redesigned and structured to give for central Monrovia a better look.

“I would like to suggest that the drainages be rebuilt and they cover all the openings in order to minimize the offensive odors and spread of disease in our city,” Mr. Dennis stressed.

Resident Boima K. Fallah, 42, of Lynch Street noted that the Ministry of Public Works Sanitation and Environmental team should rise to the occasion and carry out its statutory responsibilities.

“I want Minister Gyude Moore and all his principal deputies to leave the comfort of their offices and see firsthand the deplorable state of our drainages in the city this rainy season,” Mr. Fallah challenged.

Resident Washington G. Ngumbu, 48, of Randall Street stressed that self-help initiatives and the enforcement of zoning laws would deter the wanton disposal of garbage into the already clogged drainages in Monrovia.

“We as residents and business people of our various communities must get involved in the collection and disposal of garbage and other waste,” Mr. Ngumbu stressed.

Used clothes dealer Elizabeth K. Blama, 54, of Red-Light Gobachop Market, called on the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) to intensify the collection and disposal of garbage.

“We are aware of the enormous challenges of the PCC in its garbage collection and disposal drive, but I want to appeal to our PCC leaders to develop a sustainable garbage collection and disposal mechanism at Gobachop Market,” Madam Blama pleaded.

Waterside businesswoman Mary B. Morrison told the Daily Observer that the market has become a haven for air and water diseases because of uncollected garbage.

“We are now used to selling in the stench and squalor because we have no other choice but to continue finding our daily bread here at this stinking place,” Madam Morrison lamented.

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