Sanitation Crisis Hits Monrovia’s Slipway Community

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One of the poor sanitary scenes in Monrovia, around the Jallah Town Community, which connects with Slipway

Near the historic Providence Island in Monrovia is a community that has experienced and continues to go through the huddles of poor sanitation.

 Slipway Community is amongst several Slum communities in and around Monrovia lacking safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene facilities.

With a population of over 15, 000 inhabitants, the congested community suffers from poor drainage system, lack of garbage bins and public toilets—and with the rainy season here, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

The community has been placed under a spotlight due to crucial sanitation issues, as part of the Exclusive Media Focus on Sanitation by the WASH Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia, with support from WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone.

During the Media spotlight and assessment, residents of the area complained about the lack of hand pumps, public toilets and a conducive and hygienic environment due to poor sanitation.

Majority of the residents in the area are said to be using the Du River as public latrine.

Most of the residents built goal post toilets on the river where they go to defecate thus polluting the river.

A resident told WASH R&E that a boy got drowned recently in the area as a result of using a goal post toilet on the DU River (he slipped and fell into the river).

The residents however said though it’s risky using the goal post toilets over the Du River, they continue to do so because they lack public toilets.

“We have to stand in long queues especially during morning and evening hours awaiting  others to come out of the few toilets to also have access”, a resident, Ceceilia Nyenpan discosed. “We the women and children are the worst victims”, she also pointed out, describing the situation as embarrassing.

The issue of open defecation is another factor that is seriously contributing to insanitary condition  in the community.

Many houses in the areas were constructed without taking into consideration the importance of toilet, resulting to open defecation and the throwing of feces everywhere.

“During night hours, plastic bags are used by some residents to defecate and it is thrown in the open, at times in the drainage” Rufus Towerson a prominent resident informed the WASH Media Network.

According to Mr. Towerson, feces are also thrown over the top of houses and when the rain falls, the water is even used by some residents for cooking.

He also attributed the poor sanitary condition to some individuals residing up the Crown Hill community who lack  toilet facilities too.

Mr. Towerson noted that these individuals defecate in plastic and throw the feces from the top of their community into Slipway which is located beneath Crown Hill.

This insanitary practice according to Towerson, poses danger to the environment especially during the rainy season.

WASH R&E also gathered that due to the closure of the drainage in the community, when it rains many parts of the community get flooded thus creating an unbearable situation for the  residents.

Access to safe drinking water is another factor hampering the lives of residents in the area.

Residents informed the WASH Media Network that many of them have to walk across the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, a bridge connecting Central Monrovia to the Bushrod Island in search of safe drinking water.

The Slipway Community does not have access to safe drinking water and lacks hand pumps facilities as well.

Many of the pumps provided by few nongovernmental organizations are either damaged due to poor maintenance and community ownership, or increased pressure by users.

The residents told WASH R&E they usually buy a gallon of pump water from the Clara Town Community between 50  to 75 Liberian dollars, something they described as very expensive and unbearable.

In a related development, Slipway residents are appealing to the Government of Liberia and partners in the WASH sector to provide WASH facilities for them.

They also appealed for assistance in addressing the sanitation crisis, which could result to health outbreak if nothing is urgently done to address the situation.

 

 

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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