Whose Trash Is It Anyway? Paynesville and LMA Shift Blame

PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – Amid the spread of large piles of garbage across sections of Paynesville, including near the Red Light commercial district, Paynesville City Corporation’s public relations officer, Jani K. Jallah, has said that the city has been overwhelmed with collecting garbage.

Two companies – Caspian Holdings and LIBRA Sanitation – have been contracted by the World Bank to collect refuse from around Greater Monrovia, including Paynesville, as part of the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation project. But Jallah said “unfortunately, [Paynesville] has had problems with its contractors [for the past six months].”

According to the World Bank website, the total value of the seven-year project is US$17.6 million.

When the contractors fail to perform, as they have been doing recently, Jallah said the city intervenes to maintain a clean environment. However, she said Paynesville does not have the capacity to collect garbage from the streets on a regular basis.

“Every time the [city] collects dirt, it pays for the dumping and such is having huge financial implications on the PCC,” she said.

Jani K. Jallah, public relations officer, Paynesville City Corporation. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Jani K. Jallah, public relations officer, Paynesville City Corporation. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Jallah estimates that Paynesville spends US$1,800 every day it intervenes to collect trash around the city, adding that “the corporation is barely surviving on the taxes collected from shops and store owners in the commercial district area.”

Although the city has been operating on a budget of US$400,000 for the past fiscal year, it has so far spent over US$500,000 on garbage collection, Jallah said, and all attempts to get support from the government have failed.

“PCC has consistently requested equipment from the Ministry of Finance and the legislature, but such have fallen on deaf ears,” Jallah said.

She said the World Bank-sponsored project is not yielding the necessary results because private businesses were in charge of implementing it.

“If the monies were invested in the city corporations and their capacity built, Liberia would have had more clean cities,” she said.

Jallah expressed her belief in the ability of city corporations. She stated that they are empowered and will perform to their best ability. She offered that they would be motivated to do so because they are under the microscope of watchdogs.

Besides the failure of the contractors, Jallah has also said organizations like the Liberia Marketing Association, whose activities generate much garbage, need to collect the waste from their sites.

She said although marketers pay money to the LMA for collection of the waste they produce, nothing is done.

In pursuit of change, Jallah said the PCC has not only had dialogues but also pursued the LMA in court on the issue of garbage collection in Paynesville, although the results were not fruitful.

A billboard restricting marketers from dumping. Photo: Zeze Ballah

A billboard restricting marketers from dumping. Photo: Zeze Ballah

In defense of the Liberia Marketing Association, President Lusu M. Sloan said her organization collects dirt from its control areas around markets and then dumps them at its Paynesville Gobachop and Coal Field landfill site.

“The pile of garbage in the Paynesville commercial district is not produced by the marketers under the LMA,” she noted.

While she agreed that the LMA collected money from marketers, she said it is used for a variety of purposes, including paying salaries and trash removal.

“The LMA collects garbage four times a week,” she said, adding that “the LMA is not responsible for collecting garbage from the entire Paynesville commercial district.”

However, when asked, she declined to specify the LMA’s control areas within Paynesville.

Lusu M. Sloan, president of the Liberia Marketing Association. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Lusu M. Sloan, president of the Liberia Marketing Association. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Sloan said she has written to Paynesville’s Mayor Cyvette M. Gibson to find a solution to the issue, but to no avail.

The issue of garbage piles remaining uncollected is not unique to Paynesville. In fact, The Bush Chicken has previously reported on the issue in Congo Town’s Old Road.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

The Bush Chicken is a young operation and we need your support to keep bringing you great content. Please support us.

Monthly   Yearly   One time

Gold Level Supporter—$250/year
Silver Level Supporter—$100/year
Bronze Level Supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Gold Level Supporter—$250
Silver Level Supporter—$100
Bronze Level Supporter—$50
Or pick your own amount: $
Contributions to The Bush Chicken are not tax deductible.

Related posts