The everyday management of hundreds of metric tons of fetid dirt, including sewer waste from Monrovia and its environs, especially the slum communities, remain a tremendous challenge to the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) particularly in the absence of reliable trucks.
The waste is the fertile breeding site for the outbreak of diseases, most especially the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
UNICEF Liberia Country Representative, Sheldon Yett, said the Ebola virus is closely related to dirt (waste), and so are many other diseases, including cholera and malaria.
“We know that about 600 metric tons of sewer waste are generated in the city everyday and that’s a tremendous amount and it is an emergency by itself. Yes, it is related to Ebola and other diseases too. Cholera is an example, because it is also closely related to sewer waste,” Mr. Yett said.
The UNICEF Liberia boss said the donation of the six trucks came from the partnership and generosity of USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The Government and people of the United States, through UNICEF, decided to make the donation to Liberia to ensure that Monrovia and its environs are free of any problem that would make the country vulnerable to diseases.
The six trucks, valued at US$460,000, can offload dirt or wastes from either side and each truck contains six boxes of spare parts.
The deputy team leader for planning of OFDA, Ms. Emily Gish, said the support to the MCC is to help stop the city from overflowing with sewer waste in the rainy season. “We are happy to be here to provide this support, especially when the rainy season is approaching. These trucks must start work immediately in order to help prevent the city from overflowing because of sewer waste,” Ms. Gish said.
Assistant Public Works Minister George Yarngo said the issue of solid waste is a huge challenge and expressed gratitude to UNICEF for the trucks.
Monrovia Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo thanked UNICEF for the trucks and the said MCC Solid Waste Department has many challenges and available logistics would eliminate them.
“We appreciate the OFDA, UNICEF and also the WASH Cluster for giving us the trucks that would definitely make a serious impact on our cleaning exercises,” Mayor Mvogo said.
It may be recalled that the MCC through its partners last week launched clean-up campaign against the foul smelling septic drains running through Newport Street and other streets and several other slum communities in Monrovia, including Soneiwhen and Buzzy Quarter.
The campaign also includes the removal of wastes from hospitals, health centers and markets, amongst other areas.