Garbage Overwhelms Somalia Drive, Poses Health Threats to Residents & Marketers

Dumpsite at LPRC Junction, Somalia Drive Gardnerville
Dumpsite at LPRC Junction, Somalia Drive Gardnerville

The issue of poor sanitation in and around Monrovia, especially during the rainy season continues to be a serious problem.

Stock piles of garbage along the main streets, market places and populated communities had over the months caused health hazards.

The timely removal of garbage at points designated by the Government of Liberia and contractors since the launch of the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project has been a serious challenge to contractors hired under the World Bank Sanitation Program.

Most often piles of garbage created by marketers and residents from the various communities can be seen along main routes in Monrovia and parts adjacent.

This huge stockpile of dirt often overstays three to four months alongside major routes thus causing serious health hazard for the communities and pedestrians.

The garbage is seen taking some portion of the road thus creating huddles for the free movement of people and vehicles.

Currently, the Somalia Drive which is a major route between the commercial Redlight District in Paynesville, Township of Gardnersville and the Freeport of Monrovia, has been over taken by stock piles of garbage.

In recent times, the Somalia Drive is the scene of overstay garbage, garbage bins overcome by dirt creating an environment that is polluted with rats, cock roaches, flies and mosquitoes evading the homes of community dwellers.

As part of activities of the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, the WASH Media Network has launched the continuation of its Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation with support from WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The focus of this assessment report is on the Somalia Drive, in the Township of Gardnerville where stock piles of garbage for the past 4 months have been placed at various locations, including market sites and residential areas.

The garbage can be seen at the Gardnersville Market, New Georgia Junction, LPRC Junction, Chicken Soup Factory Community, and the Stephen Tolbert Estate Junction.

Residents and marketers residing and selling in these locations have informed the WASH Media that the condition experienced by them due to the overstay of the garbage is unbearable and poses health threats to them.

At the Gardnerville General Market, marketers informed WASH Reporters that the dirt at their location have been there for the past four months with little efforts on the part of contractors to remove it.

When quizzed by reporters why? Their response was due to the lack of machine to remove the garbage on time.

One of the marketers said she fell sick due to the unpleasant smell from the garbage for some time before returning to sell.

The marketers revealed that they are not the only ones using the site, but community residents are also dumping dirt there too.

On the other hand, petit business people selling around LPRC Junction said the condition is getting worst by the day at the junction they transact business activities.

The petit traders said most of their customers are refusing to transact business with them due to the poor environment they find themselves.

According to one of the traders, the site was created by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), and since the road construction works started the dirt has not been removed by the MCC contractor.

Deacon George Musa described the condition of the area as appalling and the location is now used for the practice of open defecation by some residents who do not have toilet facilities at their respective homes.

He said the dumpsite is now serving as the reservoir of water borne diseases and the spread of malaria and typhoid.

The case is the same around the Chicken Soup Factory Community, bad smell and flies have taken over the entire community due to the dirt.

Some of the residents interviewed by WASH Reporters attributed the situation to defective machine problems.

The residents said the over stay of the dirt is the potential threat to the spread of diseases.

Mosquitoes, flies, rats and cock roaches according to the residents have multiplied this rainy season due to the garbage.

For some residents of Stephen Tolbert Estate, the huge pile of garbage is an unfortunate situation they find themselves faced with.

At Stephen Tolbert Estate Junction, the garbage which is deposited at the entrance to the Estate creates an ugly picture for that residential area.

For his part a resident, the General Manager of Flavors of Favor, Varney Passawe said affected residents have done everything possible to revert the situation, but all of their efforts have proved futile.

Mr. Passawe indicated that intervention of the WASH Media could yield a fruitful result to the quest of removing the dirt from their community.

He said it is a threat for a huge stock of garbage to be located in a densely polluted area like the Stephen Tolbert Estate where all of the major activities of the estate is executed at the entrance of the area.

Mr. Passawe disclosed that residents always have sleepless nights due to mosquitoes with rats and other harmful insects making their way in their respect homes.

He is however calling for the review of system put in place by the government of Liberia to collect garbage from the communities and that dumpsites should be relocated.

Meanwhile, residents and marketers of the affected areas are calling on Government, through the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), an entity which has direct supervision over the EMUS Project to act fast in resolving the huge sanitation problem on the Somalia Drive.

MCC, has from time to time complained of its inability to effectively manage the sanitation problem in and around the city of Monrovia due to limited funding and increased population.

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About Cholo Brooks 14342 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.