Liberia: Monrovia City Corporation to Deal in Waste to Energy, Plastic Recycling

Traders in Monrovia's largest market district of Waterside.

Amid the mounting financial and logistical challenges to rid the City of Monrovia of garbage, the Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, has disclosed plans to expand the City Corporation's revenue generation through value addition in the waste sector for cost recovery, capital investment, growth and sustainability. This, he said, would be done through plastic recycling and the conversion from waste to energy.

Disclosing his plans and vision for the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Koijee said he would govern the city government by the motto of the MCC - "To Monrovia clean, green and safe".

According to him, his administration has put together a team to assist him to run and manage the MCC.

"We developed a 180-day quick impact inception work plan for Monrovia City Corporation - March 1 to August 21, 2018. The plan was divided into six key components that addressed how we intended to comprehend the workings of the city government and seek to build on gains made by our predecessors and to improve on lapses," he said.

The key components mentioned include internal actions, consultations, and institutional assessment; quick impact actions to support government's pro-poor agenda for city safety, cleanliness and organization; assessment of funding and revenue generation sources; engagement with stakeholders; activities for legal and policy reform and work plan output evaluation and reporting.

Mayor Koijee said, in the long-term, his administration will seek public-private partnership possibilities for lasting solutions to the city's waste problem.

The MCC, he disclosed, would expand its revenue generation and focus on public-private partnership since the city government cannot handle waste alone. The MCC would also explore the need for value chain and value addition in the waste sector for cost recovery, capital investment, growth and sustainability. This, he would be done through plastic recycling and the conversion from waste to energy.

The Monrovia City Mayor disclosed that it will cost over US$116,000 weekly to dispose garbage from around the city.

"Monrovia produces 0.65 kilograms of waste per person per day; this leads to 650 tons produced per day for one million people. The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has the capacity to collect only 325 tons per day.

"In 2017, the MCC collected 118,625 tons - this is only 50 percent of what the city produces," he explained.

According to Mayor Koijee, reasons leading to MCC's incapacity to rid the city of garbage in a timely manner were mostly inherited from previous administrations. He named some of the remote factors as the overpopulation of the city and unplanned urbanization which has led to poor sanitation in homes, unplanned human settlements and inadequate public discipline on waste disposal.

He added inadequate funding and budgetary support has also led to poor sanitation system, lack of public awareness and proper education about the causes and prevention of diseases, inadequate enforcement capabilities and poor enforcement capabilities of city ordinances.

"No money allocation to support the Government of Liberia's component for the CLUS project with the World Bank in the last 2 quarters of the National Budget. World Bank gave US$7.5 million, the government should give US$300,500 quarterly. This money is to support waste collection and disposal. When I took over this money was no available. The World Bank intervened but could not continue without a commitment from the Government of Liberia. The government has now committed US$750,000.00 in the current 2018/2019 Fiscal Year budget," he said.

He, however, bragged that with the limited support the MCC has been able to make a difference in recent days by robustly addressing the sanitation issue in the city. "If you drive around, I'm sure you can bear witness with me that the stockpile of dirt you used to see is no longer there. The MCC as an institution and as a city government, we have been working tireless to ensure that despite the challenges we keep Monrovia clean and green and that's what brings me satisfaction."

The young Mayor said the MCC under his watch will design an awareness program that will enable residents of Monrovia to know how to properly dispose waste and keep their environment clean. The awareness program will also shed light on city ordinances. In addition to that, the MCC looks forward to attracting investment to generate revenue. "We need to commercialize the waste market and make people responsible to pay for the waste they produce," he said.

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