Pollution Saga Mirrors CASPIAN -Garbage Site Relocation Demanded

By: Josiah Kpadeh /Freelance Journalist


Some residents of the Stockton Creek Community in Gardnesville have accused the Caspian Holdings Company of creating health hazards for them.

The aggrieved residents told this writer recently that the Management of the Monrovia City Cooperation Waste Transfer Station-Caspian Holdings must be engaged by the Government of Liberia if continuous illnesses in the area must be avoided.

They called for the removal of the waste transfer site, on grounds that it has polluted the environment- thus producing filthy water that pours flies and mosquitos, including other insects into their homes.

The Stockton Creek Community is lowland established in the early 80s; currently it has thousands of inhabitants – largely women and children.

There, flooding is being experienced hugely during mid-rainy season and at times it runs into homes, causing intense embarrassments for dwellers.

In this open area, the MCC has a Solid Waste Disposal Site just on the shoulder of the community along the Somalia Drive. It hosts a share of the famous Stockton Creek Bridge, few meters to the Jamaica Road on the Bushrod Island.

This disposal site is used as a transit point— garbage collected from other communities are dumped there and later transferred to other destinations for final disposal.

George Menscole, Mohamed Kamaraand and Stephen Tolbert are residents of the area.  They  said prior to the construction of the MCC Solid Waste Disposal Transfer Station, health condition in their area was fair regardless of the presence of the Stockton Creak.

“The continuous sicknesses we experience here are because of the dirt factory, often our children get sick from the dirty water that runs from the garbage. In this place, we experience the black flies, the green flies and the normal flies. The area was not like this. We are appealing to the government to remove the dirt factory from our area.” Mr. Tolbert spoke angrily in a separate statement.

He also stressed his disappointment about information that Caspian Holdings had regularly treated the garbage with insecticide.

Caspian Holdings is a hired company by the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project. The EMUS project is a World Bank initiative aimed at increasing access to solid waste collection service in Monrovia as well as enhancing the Monrovia City Corporation’s (MCC’s) revenues from waste fees and other sources.

Mr. Tolbert further alleged that community representatives have on occasions approached the Monrovia City Corporation on the matter but the engagement did not yield fruit, something the MCC had since denied.

Hawa Konneh and Annie Kollie are mothers of four children and live next to the fence that hosts the Waste. At their front view is a sleeping body of spilled water that runs from the dumps.

They also denied reports that Caspian Holdings chemically treats the garbage. According to them, their assertion was due to what they called the increased pollution and insects being experienced daily.

The women claimed that the condition has caused them much expensive as they take their kids to the clinic at least three times a month.

“This dirty water also gets worms inside, so we are forced to travel along with table salt so that we can rub it on our feet when we leave the water. We have to do this because the water can cover the road and that’s the only place we can use to come to our house,” Kollie said regrettably.

The residents preferred the garbage site be transferred to a distance location where people do not reside.

Aliue Konneh is the Chief Administrator of  Alilal Medical and Surgical Center on the Jamaica Road, close to the affected area. At this Muslim Clinic, he receives 20-25 patients daily mostly women and children.

According to him, a week- long survey recently conducted by his clinic suggests that out of 179 cases, malaria accounts for 92, while 35 cases were typhoid- related and the others were urinary track- infection (UTI) and respiratory track- infection (RTI) which account for 52.

Mr. Konneh however could not confirm or deny that these sicknesses have resulted from the MCC garbage transfer station being managed by Caspian Holdings Company.

He was also concerned about the increased number of illnesses from this community. He admitted the condition, that residents there are unable to adequately finance their treatments but called on government to provide subsidies for his clinic.

“This is necessary because we as professionals do not need to wait for money before turning to our patients,” Allieu exerted.

Meanwhile, research has indicated that disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems to humans especially in areas where they are vulnerable.

Accordingly, some waste will eventually decay, but not all, and in the process it may smell or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Leachate produced as waste decomposes may cause pollution. Badly-managed landfill sites may attract pestsor that causes disorder.

When contacted, the MCC referred this reporter to the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project for clarity. The EMUS project as well said it could not comment on the subject but preferred the reporter to Caspian Holdings, on grounds that it was Caspian that is implementing the project at the Stockton Creek Garbage Site.

The objectives of the EMUS Project for Liberia is to increase access to solid waste collection service in Monrovia and as well  enhance Monrovia City Corporation’s (MCC’s) revenues from waste fees and other sources.

At the same time, when visited on August 22, 2016, the Management of the Caspian Holdings Company said it could not orally response to the matter with fear of being misquoted by the press, instead, it promised to reply via email within four days, but failed to do so.