Barley three years after the dedication of the Japanese Freeway by President George M. Weah, where he warned residents not to build makeshift structures on the road and not to throw garbage in the gutters and drainages the opposite has occurred as the Japan Freeway has now become a normal dump site for community dwellers.
The US$ 95 million road project was undertaken through a grant provided by the Government of Japan.
Moreover, it can be recalled that during the dedication ceremony of the Japanese Freeway, President Weah said “Let me caution all would-be users and members of the communities along this road to help in its maintenance through proper use”.
President Weah reminded Liberians, particularly those along the road that the collective responsibility in the maintenance of the gift from Japan to Liberia was the surest way of demonstrating continuous appreciation to the Japanese government and its people. But his words during that historic occasion did not yield fruit but rather fell on rocky grounds with the seeing of huge garbage piles within the drainages in the center, as well as the ones along the sidewalk of Japan’s Freeway.
Our reporter who toured the Japanese Freeway beginning from the Freeport of Monrovia alone to Red-light reported that the dumping of huge garbage into the drainages could result in the blockage of water flow along the road during the rainy season period.
The constant misuse of drainages in Monrovia and its surroundings has claimed the attention of several concerned individuals and institutions, Kukatonon News is alarmed over the situation and hopes something is quickly done to address the issue.
Swelling pollution during the rainy season:
Some residents of communities along the Japanese Freeway told Kukatonon News that their surrounding communities are normally polluted during the rainy season due to the garbage allegedly dumped by unknown individuals.
According to some residents who live along Japan Freeway, the clotting of the drainages and gutters, there is always blockage of the road by water during the rainy season period.
“From the time I moved into this community, the flies have been giving us hard time. There is no good drinking water and that’s how we live here. We have talked about this and we are tired. Our children are always getting sick from malaria and typhoid; rats and roaches are all in the drainages and at night they leave and enter our home.” James Borbor a money exchanger told Kukatonon in the Freeport community.
He said since the consistent dumping of dirt into the drainages, the stockpile of waste is on the increase.
Malaria topping cases reported at clinics
“The issue of people dumping dirt into the drainages is not a good sign to this country because as we know, sanitation says that when you keep your environment clean you will be free from deceases, right? So to see our brothers and sisters or to see us throwing dirt in the drainages is not a good sign for us because definitely at the end when the rainy season comes and the dirt tries to flow all over, we will encounter sicknesses and there are a lot of sicknesses associated with specks of dirt” explained Abraham Jedidiah; Commercial Motorcyclist (running along the Japan Free Highway).
According to Jediadiah, the rate of malaria-related cases has over time increased in communities along the Japanese Freeway due to the lack of waste management by communities’ dwellers.
“The constant dumping of waste in the drainages has the potential effect because when dirt starts to flow all over more especially when it gets rotten, and you inhaled the sent from the waste, there is a tendency that you will suffer from diseases such as chloride, fresh cold, malaria and these are all these it results into, some air bond diseases and then when you step into the dirt, even when shoes on your feet, you find out that garbage will go into your toes and you will suffer from itch” he described
He however urged all in this habit of dumping waste in the drainages to discontinue the habit to have an enabling environment for all to live healthily.
“Am also calling on the relevant authorities, probably the government or the community should provide trash cans or dumpsters to various parking and community junctions so that people, can be able to throw their garbage into them and not the drainage. If not, we will continue to find dirt around. The issue here in Liberia is the results of our orientation because even at homes, you will see that some yards are not kept clean because that is how some people grew up so as a result you will find dirt everywhere, we have to eradicate that bit by bit by teaching people the necessary things that they need to know” he ended.
Rhoda Kamara: Stationed Water Seller along the Japan Freeway, Blamed Zogos and worried about the rainy season
“The main thing about throwing dirt in the drainages is that other people can pay those zogos boys to come and dump dirt here, mainly in the night.
She disclosed that at the time they try to resist them as community residents but they would fight back and as such, the Government needs to do something now because most of the drainages are now filled with dirt.
“So if we do not find solutions to this other problem, it will not be easy during the rainy season and at the end, the dirt will flow all over the street, and people will be embarrassed to pass. And so, the relevant authorities need to intervene soon before we get into the rainy season. And also I will advise some of us who are doing this to at least find a bag or create another means by packaging our waste product rather than throwing it on the street, I believe those people who are doing these pay agents are mainly “Zogoes”she mentioned.
Tom Dweh: Commercial Motorcyclist along the Japan Freeway (St. Francis Community) beg MCC and PCC to intervene
“I have been seeing waste in the drainages for a long time, but I want to advise those people in the habit of wasting dirt in the street to stop because, when raining season comes, it will be effective and this will lead us to environmental pollution” Tom Dweh stated.
According to him, he will blame the government for the action of people throwing waste in the streets and drainages because they have failed to provide dumpster material or trash cans in various communities and junctions.
“When we try to ask others to stop dumping waste in the streets and drainages, they normally tell us that they do not have dumpsters or trash cans along this road so as a result, they can always bring it here, so the government needs to provide trash buckets to solve the situation this situation” Dweh ended.
Susan Yancy a Stationed Soft Drink seller; along the Japan Free-way (lone star gas station)
“To admit, people should stop throwing garbage into the drainages some of us, who sell foodstuff and as a result, the dirt will take over the road, especially for us who sell at the front and this will give us sickness. So I am calling on the MCC, PCC, and EPA to come over now quickly before the rainy season starts.
She, however, disclosed that community dwellers are their problem because it is very simple for people to create or find bags and place their waste at their homes in them and later such waste can be taken away by community waste collectors.
Susan Yancy “I am now calling on the government to clean the road, especially the drainages and gutters before we proceed to this rainy season.
Daniel Nayou; Stationed shoes repairing along the Japan Freeway (Stephen Talbert Estate)
“Well, trash cans or dumpsters are important to our living, so when you have trash cans along the streets and communities, people will stop putting dirt into the drainage. More besides, we know that dirt is not good for human health, so I advise that good hygiene be practiced by those people who are doing this around us. For those dumping waste in the drainages along the roads, it has a very bad effect on our health, and knowing this government needs to provide the necessary mechanism”.
Princess Kollie, Petty trader along the Japanese Freeway (New Georgia Estate Junction)
“Since the dump of waste started in the drainages the mosquitoes, flies, Cockroaches, and other creature names I don’t even know are too much in the streets and those very creatures leave and go to a nearby home. The rats are big, I say very big”.
Mother Saye claimed that community dwellers and passers-by need to quit such behavior of throwing waste into the drainage which endangers their lives as citizens.
She at the same time called on the government to carry out awareness to curtail the increase in dumping of garbage in the drainages along the road.
General Abuse of drainages in Liberia
The abuse of the drainages is not only creating embarrassment to the once green and beautiful cities of Monrovia and Paynesville but is causing serious health hazards for residents.
The constant misuse of drainages by residents in Monrovia and its environs is creating bad odors in many parts of the city as well as blocking the free flow of water and feces, especially from the central sewer line. The bad smell comes mainly from the Soniwein Drainage which is considered the biggest drainage in the city.
Amongst some communities in Monrovia where residents are in the constant habit of misusing drainages are Soniwein, situated between Camp Johnson Road and UN Driver, the Lynch and Randall Streets area from the Ministry of Public Works to the Church of Nazarene, Buzzi Quarter, a stone throw from the Executive Mansion and now the famous Japanese Freeway formal Somalia Drive ranging from the Freeport of Monrovia to the commercial city of Red-Light.
Others are Clara town, Doe Community, Jamaica Road, Free Port Community, and Bushrod Island Community, among others. The main drainage on the Japanese Freeway runs from Freeport to Stockton Creek which runs through other communities into other nearby creeks and rivers along the road.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Freeway’s polluted drainage system has sparked public outcry, calling for collective efforts to ensure proper cleaning and maintenance of drainages in and around the city of Monrovia.
It can be recorded that several years before and during its construction, the highway’s cramped and dilapidated condition made traveling from the Freeport of Monrovia to the commercial hub of Red Light a nauseating experience that some inhabitants and businesses along the road took temporary refuge to other communities.
Bedeskoe Nyumah Tumbay Is A professional Liberian Multimedia Journalist, a Full Member Of The Press Union Of Liberia (PUL), Who Reports On All Sectors Of Society. He Has Several Years Of Experience In Journalism, Media Relations, Communication Consultancy, Video And Audio Contents Gathering, Editing And Production Among Others.