THE POLITICAL AND economic capital of Liberia, Monrovia, along with its environs, is gradually being swallowed up in dirt and chaos in human filth. Very soon, when nothing is done, the entire city would be a kind of “hold-your-nose-and-pass” community. This is compounded by what we call “human filths”—the use of prominent city quarters by peddlers to sell, roast corns and cassava and put up shacks.
WHETHER IT IS in Central Monrovia or on the Capitol Hill, or Sinkor, Duala or Gardnersville, or Paynesville, the cry is all the same: Monrovia is smelling, and no one cares.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT public resources are scarce in recent years following donor fatigue and the Liberian economy is acutely strained. But should that be reason for what appears to be complete lack of efforts? Should that be reasons to allow major streets and communities clogged by dirt and unauthorized assembly of market stalls? Then why do we have the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) or the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) and the Liberia Marketing Corporation (LMC)?
WHY MONEY AND resources are cardinal to the effective management of any municipality, and that authorities responsible for cleaning and sanitation are challenged, innovation and creativity also matter. The MCC, PCC and the Liberia Marketing Corporation, by virtue of their statutory responsibilities, need to wake up from the slumbers and find creative ways out of the scarce resources available to do the jobs for which they were created. To wait for a buckle-full of money and resources before tacking the worsening garbage crisis in Monrovia and its environs not only speaks highly unkindly about the George Manneh Weah government, it also undermines tourist attraction potential of the cities and risks the lives of the over one and half million people in the two cities.
BOTH CITY HALL and the LMA need no lecture about risks that a dirty and disorganized city poses for the inhabitants. Market grounds flooded by mountains of garbage leave serious health consequences for both the marketers and buyers and for the people of communities in areas they are situated. Garbage-clogged city only ups the unsanitary conditions and worsen the subsequent health implication for the people. As prime habitat of mosquitoes and other crawling insects which convey malaria and other infectious diseases, garbage is the number one killer in Liberia. Hope MCC, PCC and LMA know this very well.
IT’S TIME, THEREFORE, the authorities took charge of things and save the worsening sanitary and ecological challenges Monrovia is faced with. It is widely known that the city is dirty, it is getting dirtier and there looms serious health crisis.
MONROVIANS ARE NO longer interested in the excuses. They are rather interested in their safety. They are concerned about free movement, a cleaner air and greener environment. They are interested in seeing public servants who are paid from their taxes do the jobs for which they were hired.
PERHAPS, ONE OF THE ways to make a radical departure from the current state of stagnation or retrogression is to declare a state of emergency over the garbage crisis and invoke all powers under the statutes of the City Governments that enforce ordinances compelling the public to come out and help. Perhaps it is instructive that since the head of the Monrovia City Government is a youth, most of whom are unemployed, he could summon his base, the youth, encourage them form garbage collection brigades with some minimum support to do the odd job.
BESIDES, THE CITY Governments and the LMA do collect fees. Particularly, the LMA does collect fees from its members purposely for garbage collection. It is time the city governments instruct the LMA to take charge and responsibility of garbage collection in and around market halls which are notorious in garbage pilling. Or there must be some form of reprimand for the LMC’s failure to act consistent with purposes for which it collects thousands of dollars from its members.
MONROVIA AND ITS environs are getting too odd, too unsightly for a principal economic and political hub it is. The time for action is now. It is a matter of do or quit. The people cannot settle down to the prevailing condition.