Liberia: Vendors Laud PCC for Removal of Waste

The commercial district of Red-Light, Paynesville City, has always had challenges that make the place unpleasant to be, though difficult to avoid. It hosts thousands of marketers; some of them resident in Montserrado County while others come from the hinterland to sell their wares and purchase manufactured goods to carry back for sale.

The huge concentration of people in this area for a commercial purpose just makes it difficult to control waste there. In recent times there has been a stockpile of dirt dumped on the ground by the marketers. The argument has always been that the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), which collects fees from sellers, should be responsible to clear the dirt from the area, while others shift the blame onto the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) for not cleaning the garbage.

However, without dwelling on the argument to allow garbage to overwhelm the area, the PCC has instead begun cleaning the garbage to restore sanity.

Marketers, in appreciation of the initiative, have applauded the management of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), noting that the stockpile of dirt in the area is hazardous to their health.

Interestingly, construction work is ongoing on the road leading from the Coca Cola Factory to the ELWA Junction, and beginning from the Parker Paint Junction to ELWA Junction will be a four-lane corridor, and a similar road from the Freeport of Monrovia to Red Light is going on simultaneously. It is therefore imperative that these new, modern roads be kept clean void of human encroachment and activities that will make them filthy.

The Daily Observer, following a one day tour in Paynesville recently, noted that the PCC seems to have taken some technical measures to ensure that sanity of Red-light is maintained.

Expressing appreciation to the PCC, Henry Johnson, a vendor, told the Daily Observer that the PCC is now doing extremely well in ensuring that Red-light is clean.

Mr. Johnson, who sells used shoes, said if the PCC continues to work in this direction, Red-light will soon be out of the stigma of being one of the dirtiest areas in town.

"Even though last year the PCC was very dormant in collecting dirt from the street, since the donation of several pieces of sanitation equipment by our international partners, we have observed that the PCC has been very effective in collecting dirt from the various market places," he said.

Martha Siaway, who sells raw pepper and greens, also informed this paper that while it is true PCC has an obligation to clean up our various selling places, it is also important to note that vendors themselves have the responsibility to clean up the markets because the dirt has the ability to pollute the air which will lead to an outbreak of disease.

Ms. Siaway said: "we ourselves can make dirt, so we must be able to help in collecting it too because when sickness comes we will get it first before PCC can take the dirt."

The dormancy of the PCC in collecting garbage has primarily been due to the lack of equipment including trucks, yellow machines, garbage-collection tricycles and many other logistics, but with the help of the European Union (EU) and the World Bank, there have been some significant improvements.

Red-light market Comprises Pipeline, Gobachop field, Lofa field and other small market places, and is dominated by out of town vendors.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Kollie, a shoeshine boy, says prior PCC's intervention, Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) has been collecting money from each marketer such as ground fees, for the purpose of collecting dirt, but the market remains the dirtiest market in Montserrado.

"I think that they were not sincere enough to us in making sure that the market is clean," Kollie said.

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