The dumping of garbage at the doorsteps of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) by angry marketers at the Paynesville Market should be seen by Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee as a Wake-up call to get his act together or prepare to face the wrath of the people.
When Jefferson Koijee was appointed Mayor, he immediately launched a regular monthly cleanup which coincided with the regular first Saturday cleanup, then popularly referred to as “Mary Broh Day”. Upon taking over the Mayorship, he styled it: “Weah for Clean City Campaign”. At the time scores of young people, especially females, could be seen around various parts of Monrovia wielding brooms and other cleanup materials.
Now, one year later, it appears as though the Weah for Clean City Campaign has all but fizzled out with heaps of garbage piled up in communities around the city. One major eye sore has been the mounds of uncollected garbage right in the back of the Monrovia City Hall. Just what has happened to the Sanitation department of the Monrovia City Corporation?
According to City Hall officials, the City corporation is faced with logistical and other challenges which are making it difficult to remove garbage from around the city. But insider sources tell this newspaper that the MCC has, within a period of just one year, virtually depleted whatever money it had for operations.
Currently, according to sources, most of its trucks and other equipment, especially earth moving equipment, are either broken down for lack of money to procure spares or they lack fuel to operate.
As it appears, the “Weah for Clean City” campaign has lost steam and appears headed for the rocks. City Mayor Koijee has however announced the beginning of an enumeration exercise which, according to him, is intended to register every house which will accordingly be charged garbage removal fees.
What this means is that the thousands of Liberians in Monrovia who depend on collecting garbage to provide sustenance for the families will suddenly find themselves without a means of livelihood.
Moreover, with the City Corporation already overburdened by the challenge of removing garbage from public dumpsites, there is very little likelihood, all things considered, that the MCC will be able to measure up to the challenge of house-to-house garbage removal.
It can hardly be denied that in recent history, Monrovia has never been as filthy and dirty as it is now. Under Mary Broh, Monrovia was kept clean as citizens and residents alike appeared strongly public spirited and did their share to keep the city clean. She even introduced portable public toilets in order to address growing but acute felt needs for public sanitation facilities around Monrovia.
It must therefore not be lost on Mayor Koijee that sanitation has important implications for health and human capital development. Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human waste.
Access to proper sanitation is also considered to be a human right, not a privilege, for every man, woman, and child.
That said, solid waste management is arguably the greatest public health threat in Monrovia. In the virtual absence of an effective waste management sector, coupled with the lack of public toilets, it means for example that household trash, human feces and other wastes ,including hazardous medical wastes, are routinely disposed throughout the length and breadth of Monrovia. In some areas, uncollected garbage swells into heaps large enough to block passage of ways and roads.
Virtually no waste management sector, along with a lack of proper toilets, means household trash, human feces, and hazardous medical waste is randomly disposed of throughout the city, in some areas swelling to piles large enough to block roads. A case in point is the garbage heap located behind the City Hall.
Perhaps Mayor Koijee needs to be reminded that children in Monrovia bear the brunt of sanitation-related impacts — their health, nutrition, growth, education, self-respect, and life opportunities suffer as a result of inadequate sanitation. Huge stockpiles of uncollected garbage for example, make breeding grounds for a host of diseases which ultimately affect children who are, in most cases, overexposed to the garbage.
According to health experts, children exposed to such conditions become susceptible to worm and diarrhea infections as well as opportunistic infections such as measles, pneumonia and malaria.
The combined effects of inadequate sanitation, unsafe water supply and poor personal hygiene are responsible for many of childhood deaths. But, perhaps Mayor Koijee may be unaware of these facts and in case he is, he needs to be adequately informed of the implications of what appears to be a fizzling out of his much vaunted “Weah For Clean City” campaign if he does not get his act together.