Few months back at the close of 2013 up to early January this year, Liberia’s largest municipality Paynesville, situated in Montserrado County, one of the fifteen sub-political divisions of the country, was on the daily basis sinking deeply into dirt as the stockpiles of huge garbage were seen in every corner of the City, especially in the Commercial District of Red Light.
As the day passes by, there were all sorts of names given to Paynesville by the residents themselves, petty traders and other individuals who passed through the City, mainly in the Commercial District of Red Light to either go to Central Monrovia or heading for Gardnerville as well as travelling to places like Fendel, Careysburg, Kakata, Gbarnga, Ganta and the lists continue.
On many days, some residents of Paynesville who were opportune to get through on some phone-in radio talk shows like the Super Morning Show on the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Truth Breakfast Show on Truth FM among others, usually expressed their dissatisfactions over the huge stockpiles of garbage that were swallowing the City.
They also blamed authorities at the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) for putting in place several strategies aimed at keeping the City clean but those strategies according to them were not yielding the necessary results. To their dismay, the huge stockpiles of garbage were accumulating around the City instead.
Due to the continuous filthiness of Paynesville, the WASH Reporters and Editors Network of Liberia further questioned PCC authorities and two Garbage Collection Companies, “Zoom-lion and N.C. Sanitors” supported by the World Bank for reneging on their responsibilities to properly and professionally ensure garbage disposal in Paynesville.
Although, there have been shifting of blames amongst PCC, Zoom-lion and N.C. Sanitors as residents of Paynesville and WASH organizations expressed their concerns, things are gradually changing in the City as it relates to good sanitary condition of Paynesville, mainly the issue of Garbage collection.
A recent tour of the City of Paynesville by a WASH Media Network Reporter shows that areas where huge stockpiles of garbage had over still for months are no more there. For instance, the Buy Your Dirt Project and Parker Paint Area on Monrovia – Kakata Highway, the Somalia Driver near Oppong Store and entering Red Light from the ELWA Junction side as well as near the LBS Compound on Lover Street used to be areas of huge garbage but are no longer there. Other areas include 72nd Junction and the Saint Francis Junction in Jacob Town.
Those various sites were used to be called “hold your nose and pass”. But interestingly now the garbage stockpiles have been removed thus causing residents, petty traders and by-passers to be breathing fresh air with no bad odors any longer.
Some of the sites visited by our Reporter, he was able to capture the inscriptions placed at those sites by the Paynesville City Corporation, “No Dumping Here! Order by PCC”. With these inscriptions, what counts now is that those sites must be carefully monitored by PCC Waste Management Department to ensure that the Order by PCC is withheld and to arrest and punish those that will be caught in violation or else, sooner or later those areas will be filthy again and there will be louder out-cries.
At the “Buy Your Dirt Project Site” in the Commercial District of Paynesville, which in the latter part of 2013 was covered with garbage stockpiles including the skit buckets, is now clear with security posted there. At that Site, the Head of the PCC Security, Chuku Cheks said “We are here to ensure that the dumping of dirt at this Site is controlled and now it is only PCC Waste Management Team that has the absolute right to dump dirt here”. “No one else”, Mr. Cheks told our Reporter with several of his men looking on.
“As you can see the Site is clear and the two skit buckets you see with the garbage by the evening hours they will be empty because the truck will come to dispose them by taking the dirt at the Monrovia City Corporation Solid Waste Site in Whien Town” Mr. Cheks pointed out.
But what is worrisome to the WASH Media Network and WASH related institutions in the country is how PCC, Zoom-lion and N.C. Sanitors will continue to maintain the City of Paynesville to be always clear from in-disposed garbage.
In Liberia, it is noticeable that entities and individuals can only move or act when there is a public out-cry. But after few days of silence by the public, things return to business as usual.
This time around, it must not be business as usual. The public shouldn’t talk before PCC, Zoom-loin and N.C. Sanitors act. Let the three entities continue with the process they have started as a sustained initiative to keep the sanitary condition of Paynesville constant.
The WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia will continue to monitor the situation in Paynesville and other parts of Liberia as part of its Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation sponsored by WaterAid in Liberia and Sierra Leone.