For the first time, the garbage inundated commercial suburb of Redlight in Paynesville has been cleaned by a joint team of the Government of Liberia including the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), the Ministry of Public Works and the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) to the awe of residents and citizens of all walks of life. The team operating on the “Leave No Dirt Behind” mantra was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that marketers in the Redlight and Goba Chop Markets are relocated to the modern 14 Goba Chop in the Omega Community.
Speaking to newsmen at the start of the initiative, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee said the effort is not an indication of usurping function but putting all hands on deck for the good of the country. “Development under the George Weah led Pro-poor agenda knows no boundaries. If there is a challenge in one and others have the means to help, we will not hesitate to act. The goal is to improve the livelihood of the people which is sine qua non to the transformed Liberia President George Weah envisages,” Mayor Koijee indicated.
Although the primary intent is to prepare for Liberia’s 174th Independence Day celebration, the Mayor of Monrovia said the aftermaths will outlive the independence day festival and leave an indelible on the sand of development history for generation unborn.
Koijee stressed that the decision to relocate marketers and clean the entire commercial area as well as other garbage hotspots did not come on the spur of the moment but a regimented process that drew consensus through consultative meetings from the marketers themselves and those affected in non-commercial areas across Montserrado County and parts of Margibi County.
The evidence of these consultative engagements saw a no objection posture from the people, according to the Monrovia City Mayor.
He pointed out that giving the fact that tremendous progress has been made in the team’s objectives, it is now high times that keen attention be given to sustainability in order to maintain the gains otherwise the government’s efforts would be waste of resources.
To this end, he has rallied residents of the cleaned commercial areas as well other areas including Central Monrovia, Duala and the Somalia Drive to preserve the cleaned places because they would be the first victims in case of pollution from wastes disposed at undesignated places.
“We want you to help the government to help you. When these places get messy with garbage, you, residents of communities in proximity would be seriously affected. So, we want you to stop people from disposing garbage at undesignated sites; call the City Police or the National Police when you find anyone in the act. This could be an opportunity, if you behave well, to be hired as volunteers to help the municipal governments to keep your environment clean. Anything happens here, it is you the residents that would get sick. We will seek help from our international partners to build dirt bins but you have to preserve it.
Mayor Koijee emphasized that the first against COVID-19 and cleaned environment go hand in hand to help to ensure nobody misuses them,” he told the residents who had turned out en mass to contribute voluntarily to the “Leave No Dirt Behind” campaign.
He encouraged the residents, most of whom were young people, to be disciplined, humble and patient when opportunities come no matter where they come from. “You don’t know when opportunity will change your life. President Weah was given one opportunity. He made the best of it with good behavior, humility, hardwork and patience. Today, his story has changed. You can do the same. We are not interested in your political affiliation. All that matters is your desire to see Liberia better and developed and posterity would be kind to you,” Koijee noted.
For her part, the Acting Minister of Public Works, Ruth Coker-Collins said the relocation of the marketers is a monumental feat because their presence especially on the main road has been impeding the completion of the 6.1 kilometers ELWA to Coca Cola Factory road construction work and contractors were getting additional money for days lost.
She disclosed that there will be an overhead bridge in the middle of the commercial suburb for pedestrians to use in order to avoid traffic congestion. Now that area has been cleared, Acting Minister Coker-Collins is optimistic that the road project will be completed by the end of 2021.
She added that the team is also taking steps to fix infrastructures that are critical to the marketers stay in the 14 Goba Chop Market such as warehouses, latrines and bathrooms as well as access to roads.
Also speaking to the press, the City Manager of Paynesville City said the surest way the City Government would be looking to sustain the cleaned area is through community engagement. He believes that when the people take the lead in cleaning their own environment and disposing their garbage properly, the City leadership can do more for a clean and green city.