As waste overtakes Monrovia, Mayor Jefferson Koijee outlines plans to address city solid waste problems

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Monrovia- As Monrovia and its surroundings sink in heaps of solid waste and trash, the City Mayor of the nation’s capital, Jefferson T. Koijee has outlined plans to address the city solid-waste problems.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Mayor Koijee told reporters that the World Bank and the Monrovia City Corporation have a 5-year solid-waste disposal project known as the Clause Project valued at $17.5 million. Mayor Koijee said that out of that amount, the World Bank will provide $10.5 million, while the government of Liberia has a commitment of $7 million. He said, the government $7 million obligation towards the project brings it to a $1.4 million annual commitment, with a quarterly disbursement of $325,000.00. However, Hon. Koijee informed the press gathering that when his administration took over the city government, there was absolutely no money to start with, thereby stagnating waste disposal activities. The Mayor said, these and other obstacles pushed him to make direct pleas to the President, and after several meetings, $750,000.00 was allocated in the 2017-2018 fiscal budget. This amount falls short of the government yearly obligation to the MCC-Word Bank Clause Project by $650,000.00, but covers the first two quarters of the project.

Mr. Jefferson Koijee, Monrovia City Mayor

In related developments, Mayor Koijee announced during the news conference that construction of a new landfill area in Cheesemanburg is in the works and feasibility study is being conducted by the World Bank and the Monrovia City Corporation. The Mayor said that the Weahn Town landfill will be unusable within a year, and the site identified at Cheesemanburg will be use as the new waste disposal site. He also used the press briefing to warn citizens about their disposal habits. “MCC will assign officers at all disposal sites to ensure dirt is not spilled around the Scape Bucket when it is full. Anyone caught doing such will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law”, the Mayor said.

Pile of dirt seen in and around a “Scape Bucket” in Monrovia

In the meantime, Mayor Koijee assured citizens that the MCC has started a 20-day robust approach to clear the city of the heap of garbage currently piled up around the capital. He said, major relief will come to the city soon, but pointed out the heavy cost that comes with solid waste management in Monrovia and its environs. Hon. Koijee put the weekly cost of waste removal and disposal in Monrovia at $116,000.00 and this include, trucks and equipment rental, fuel cost, manpower, etc. He said although the current revenue intake helps cover the cost, the city administration still experience hurdles in timely collections. The Mayor also informed the press that a National Stakeholders Conference is scheduled for August 17-18, 2018 to address the City waste issue and termed it as a National Security Emergency. He said this stakeholders meeting will bring people from all sectors together to discuss the issue and forward suggestions and recommendations to National Government. He was quick to add that a workshop spearheaded by his chief of staff has already being conducted with Petty Traders primarily focused on trading locations and issues affecting them. Mr. Koijee told reporters that recommendations from that workshop will be implemented fully.

In another development, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has announced a partnership with the United Nations Development Program, (UNDP) for the purpose of training 1,000 urban farmers, mostly youths, in agricultural activities. Mayor Koijee during his Monday press conference said, the project will be mostly focused around Monrovia and its environs and will largely involved training in urban farming activities; mostly rice production. The Mayor  also announced that Queens from ECOWAS and other African nations are currently visiting the country in preparation for a National Youth Dialogue to be hosted by Liberia. This conference, the Mayor said, will bring over 500 young people from various African countries  together and will be held in September of this year.