John Kumeh, Whein Town, Paynesville, Liberia – After several months of demonstration by residents of Whein Town Community in Paynesville, Montserrado County, it appears that their effort to grasp the attention of the authority is fruitless.
Whein Town residents have been struggling to eradicate what they consider a very serious health hazard posed by Liberia’s biggest garbage site, but the garbage nightmare for dwellers of the area is far from over.
Located several miles from the Liberian capital Monrovia, with a population over 16,000, Whein Town continues to get pinched from consequences of waste as inhabitants revealed that the Liberian Government has reneged on promises made to better the environmental condition of the place.
Since the relocation of the disposal site in Whein Town in mid 2000 by the Government of Liberia through the Monrovia City Corporation Solid Waste project, the sanitary condition of the community continues to go from bad to worse. The project was sponsored at the time by the World Bank.
A visit by a team of reporters has revealed that those living closer or several yards from the stockpiled of waste are engulfed by offensive odors, swarm of flies, ants and mosquitoes that make the environment uncomfortable for dwelling.
Speaking to reporters recently, residents complained that they have been abandoned by government. They said it is the sole responsibility of the Liberian government to protect citizens as well as improve the living condition of all.
Wade Julius – Morris, a women’s spokeperson said, “What we as residents of Whein Town are going through is unbearable as you can see. This garbage site government put here is gradually killing us as our environment is no longer friendly.”
Morris mentioned that the garbage nightmare couldn’t be emphasized further as reporters are aware of how it started, “What is regrettable and frustrating is that [this] government has reneged on the many promises made to us over the years.”
She pressed on that soil pollution is another fear hanging over the community. “From the pollution of our private wells in the community from the garbage, the government promised to construct safe water facilities in the community for the residents but to our surprise, two reservoirs were erected. She said a small reservoir erected by the government cannot serve more than 16,000 residents.
The Whein Town women’s spokeperson further indicated that in line with the Liberian Government’s promises, the health center is yet to be built, “President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf said that government’s interventions in addressing the residents’ concerns could be done in two phases, that is short and long term but we don’t know when it will be done.”
Another resident of the area, Sano Gaye, who lives very close to the disposal site called on government to relocate the site to an isolated area. Gaye said the garbage situation is comparatively out of control.
She said residents regularly fall sick, especially women and children. “We are treated like foreigners in our own country from our present condition as you journalists can see. When we are eating, we and the flies can be fighting for the flies not to sit on our food because we know flies are the easy carries of various diseases and germs.”
According to Gaye, they attend to flies during the day and save their energies to fight mosquitoes at night. “They can actually give as hell, even when we burnt the Chinese mosquitos’ coils.”
She disclosed that for the past four years, government has not spray the community, issue mosquito nets to residents or provided medical treatment as promised through the Monrovia City Corporation, MCC.
At one point she alleged that when fire burnt the disposal site months ago, she spent over $200.00 USD to treat her kids at a local clinic. “For now we are graceful to God because it is rainy season and we can get rain water to drink, can buy the mineral water, bath and wash our cloth.” she concluded.