New Fiamah Toilets: Please Make Sure to Keep Them Clean!

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The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are to be congratulated and thanked for the new toilets that have been built and opened in the Weasaye Community in Fiamah, Sinkor, Monrovia.

We hope that this important beginning will be continued throughout Fiamah, an increasingly modern community.

In addition, may the MCC not rest until the whole of Monrovia, including our beach areas, is covered with well maintained public toilets.

This is a very serious development needed not only in our capital city, but throughout the country. Most of our rural towns lack modern toilet and bathroom facilities, and this poses a very serious risk to the health of the people and their environments.

But let us deal first with Monrovia. In these times when the government is adversely affected by fallen commodity prices, especially rubber and iron ore, it is difficult, probably unrealistic, to ask the central government for money to build toilets in Monrovia. A good question would be, why hasn’t the government intervened in this sector ever since, when our financial situation was not so dire? Some may view this as not only a belated, but also an academic question.

The MCC must take its own initiative to cover Monrovia with public toilets and bathrooms. It must now figure out how the money will be raised to do it and maintain them.

In this connection, we think the time has now come for all Liberian cities to share in the taxes that are collected in each city. The taxes collected in Monrovia, our national capital, and by far our largest and most highly populated city, are considerable. We think the highly efficient and enlightened people who man the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) need to sit with the MCC and the country’s financial managers at large to develop an arrangement by which the City of Monrovia may share in some of the real property taxes. If this can be done, the city would have enhanced financial resources to build and maintain the infrastructures, including the public toilets and bathrooms Monrovia needs to improve its sanitation and raise its standard of living.

Another possible avenue of revenue may be appealing to some of the leading businesses in Monrovia to contribute to the building and maintenance of public bath and toilet facilities. MCC can think of a proper way to approach business houses in this crusade.

But beginning with the Weasaye community’s new toilet facilities, the key point we wish to make is that it is imperative that these facilities are well maintained, hopefully on a 24-hour basis.

Why do we make such a suggestion? Many people have noticed that in the entire city of Monrovia, including some of the leading government offices and even many leading banks and churches, it is very hard or next to impossible to find well-kept toilet facilities. With all our travels around the world, during which we have seen how airport bathrooms are maintained on a 24-hour basis, we seem not to have learnt what it takes to run a decent bathroom anywhere, sometimes not even in our homes.

Those who insist on properly maintaining bath and toilet facilities know that they have to operate a three-shift janitorial crew to keep these facilities clean. There is no other way around that. We trust that the MCC will take this suggestion seriously and act accordingly.

One of the critical reasons for the poor use of such facilities is the lack of awareness on the part of most of the people who will be using these facilities. They are not used to such facilities, as many of them, in many parts of Monrovia and around the country, are accustomed to using the bush or any vacant lot or abandoned building they can find to ease themselves.

The MCC is, therefore, challenged to undertake a constant training exercise among its citizens and residents on the use of such facilities.

We commend City Mayor Clara Doe-Mvogo and UNICEF Country Representative Sheldon Yett on this important development in Fiamah and pray that the initiative will be multiplied throughout the city for the relief of our citizens and residents and improvement in the health and sanitation of our capital.

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