The Daily Observer, like other local dailies, has emphasized in its editorial many times the need for state authorities to take actions to address the stockpiles of garbage in Monrovia and other cities in Liberia.
Besides the various editorials, our reporters have continuously reported about overwhelming garbage at Red Light and Duala markets, and other parts of Monrovia. There is yet again another report in the July 10, 2018 edition of this newspaper by our Margibi reporter, Patrick C.M. Kollie, about uncollected garbage that residents are demanding the Kakata City Mayor to remove.
From our observation, dumping dirt in the streets in Liberia is done not only because of a lack of disposal sites; it is a habitual attitude of many Liberians who seem to have a strange mindset that others should clean-up after them.
Garbage wantonly disposed in cities has a number of adverse consequences. It hosts rodents, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes and other creeping parasites that transfer diseases including malaria and typhoid.
At many clinics and hospitals in Liberia nowadays, the most commonly diagnosed diseases are malaria and typhoid, and these preventable diseases are bred in such filth. As the rainy season has come, water flowing from filthy places is polluting shallow ground water wells that are the main sources of water for many homes.
The polluted water sources, according to medical experts can also result in skin diseases, diarrhea, typhoid and cholera. All these diseases are prevalent in Liberia but yet authorities who should help to address the garbage crisis here appear somehow indifferent.
We understand that the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) with the acquiescence of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) collects money from marketers to remove garbage at the Red Light market. We wonder why with such an agreement granting the LMA the authority to collect garbage disposal fees the city authorities appear helpless and unable to enforce compliance.
The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and the Paynesville City Corporation have begun a clean-up campaign in preparation of Liberia’s 171st Independence Day celebration. Good! But for how long will the cleaning last after the Independence Day on July 26? As often as the cities are cleaned, people refill it with waste because they have very poor awareness about public health and sanitation and how it affects their health and lives.
Additionally, this situation persists because water and sanitation facilities especially public toilets, public water mains are critically lacking while enforcement of city ordinances generally tends to be weak. Most of all it is because city and LMA authorities are remiss in their duties.
Instead of occasionally cleaning the city on certain national holidays, we recommend that city corporations invest more in water and sanitation facilities. Public spaces such as the Palm Grove Cemetery, for example, should be cleaned all through the year instead of doing so only on Decoration Day; public toilets and garbage disposal sites within that vicinity to serve the needs of thousands who have to use the cemetery as a public toilet.
Finally we recommend that all such measures be complemented by a vigorous public health awareness program to ensure that the message of cleanliness takes root.