Saturday, September 29, 2007

City of Monrovia 2006/2007 Action Plan Presented by Ophelia Hoff Saytumah Mayor City of Monrovia January 11, 2006

INTRODUCTION:

While we are proud of our very long history, we have lagged behind in development and no longer enjoy the amenities of a modern city because of the 23 years of instability we have experienced.

Associated with this is the threat of epidemic outbreak and the spread of diseases resulting from the overloaded carrying capacities, outstretched facilities and created conditions of over-crowding and congestion of city’s residents.

We lost our Electricity and Water supply some 14 years ago. Our Sewage System is clogged and
When ever it rains, our City is unsanitary, unhealthy and unlivable. Furthermore, the streets of the City of Monrovia have crumbled due to lack of maintenance and accidents are commonplace because there are no or very few safety signs posted throughout the City to regulate automobile traffic. We are faced with critical urban environmental development issues including:

Pollution of the rivers mainly due to sewage discharge and garbage disposal
Inadequate housing, sanitation and latrine facilities for over 1 million residents living in squatter settlements and tenements
Proliferation of the informal sector retail trade in every open space and streets of Monrovia
Increased environmental health risks of the most vulnerable such as childhood diarrhea, malaria, cholera, etc.

One of our most vexing problems is our inability to cope with the humongous garbage problem. It is well documented that despite the Monrovia City Corporation’s best efforts during my administration, we have been unable to completely solve the garbage collection and disposal problem to our satisfaction due to lack of resources, capacity building and lack of cooperation and serious input from the Government of Liberia and the residents of Monrovia. We are faced with inadequate collection and transportation of solid waste, outdated method of disposal and lack of transit dumping sites in the city due to its over- crowdedness.

Is this the Monrovia you want! We all say a resounding NO.

It is a known fact by now that every one of us desires a clean city but hardly wants to pay to have a clean city. The collection and disposal of solid waste is very capital intensive and taxing on those of us engaged in it. It is time that we all began to make some contributions to keep us living a long and productive or healthy life. Our environment deserves much of us and will give back to us what we gave to it.

Although we are grateful to UNICEF, UNMIL, USAID, THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA and some individuals who have helped us to keep our heads just above the heaps of garbage on short term interventions, the city is in dire need of a sustainable garbage collection and disposal system. w Therefore, the Residents, Businesses and Institutions of Monrovia, must take immediate action to clean and maintain the sanitation of our City on a sustainable basis not only for ourselves but for our children and those wishing to visit and invest in our country as Monrovia is the gateway to Liberia. The collection and disposal of garbage is not an event but a daily process. To that end, the City of Monrovia has taken the following steps:

The Monrovia City Corporation in 2004 completed the WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR MONROVIA and the REPORT ON LANDFILL SITE SELECTION AND CONCEPTUAL DESIGN developed with technical assistance from UNICEF with funding from DFID. The World Bank sent us consultants and additional work was done to ensure that Monrovia and its Environs have a modern collection and disposal solid waste system that will cost around (US) $10 Million Dollars with the participation of MCC, Donors, and Liberians home and abroad, and the Government of Liberia.

It was against this background that we invited Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President of the Republic of Liberia on October 13, 2006 to launch the City of Monrovia 2006/2007 SUSTAINABLE Action Plan that included the Monrovia Trust Fund.

· To immediately address the garbage problems and clean our City by involving all our community and international organizations.
· To beautify our communities, streets and public places and identify play areas for children.
· To purchase 2 skip trucks and place a minimum of 20 skip buckets in various communities for the collection and disposal of garbage to stop the dumping in the streets and rivers.
· To augment the capacity and empower The City Police for the enforcement of City Ordinances.
· To engage in mass public awareness environmental program.
· To help build decent communities latrines connected to the Sewer System or that are eco- friendly.
· To clean and beautify our beaches, rivers, lakes lagoons and make them tourist-friendly.
· To commission the Monrovia Trust Fund here and abroad for the Recovery Program of the City.
· To celebrate “Monrovia Day” as contained in Ordinance number 4.
· To increase the revenue base of the city and the improvement of the methods of its collection and to collect 30% of all real property taxes as decreed in PRC Decree #61 signed into law in 1982 by President Doe.
· To privatize (wholly or partially) the garbage collection and disposal program
· To relocate streets market stalls to suitable locations
· To have markets associations enter into memorandum of understanding for the occupancy of market buildings and the collection and disposal of garbage with the necessary fees and its beautification
· To introduce the annual “Taste of Monrovia” at Christmas

In April 2007 the World Bank came in with a grant in the amount of USD16.5 million dollars to finance some of the most urgent infrastructure and basic services rehabilitation. USD 7 million was allocated to Works in Monrovia.

MCC collaborates with Water & Sewer and The Ministry of Public Works,

The Urban Works include among others:

Rehabilitation of 20 selected public toilets.
Solid Waste Management activities which included haulage of accumulated waste by private contractors-that has now exceeded the estimated waste with additional contracts put in place.
a. The up grade of Fiamah Dump Site
b . The purchasing of 8 skip trucks/120 skip buckets, the identification of 120 solid waste disposal sites as the beginning of putting in place a solid waste management system for Monrovia and its environs.
3. The cleaning -up of communities, Beaches and the identifications of play grounds
4. Community sensitization-organized extensive community outreach events and media campaigns
Fencing in of the Palm Grove Cemetery
Rehabilitation of Market Buildings

Other Urban Works are also been carried on to rehabilitate selected surface drains and underground pipes

Cleaning and rehabilitation of selected sewer lines and community beautification.


The Government of Liberia/The City Government of Monrovia and The World Bank have structured all of these ongoing works to include the Private Sector, NGOs and Community Based Organizations.

The Monrovia Trust Fund launched in 2006 was put on hold with the coming in of the grant from the World Bank but there is a need to re-activate this Trust Fund and put in place methods of recovery fees for the sustainability of these works and others as the World Bank funding is only temporary.

PROJECT ANALYSIS

The City of Monrovia 2006/2007 Action Plan requires minimum sacrifices from each and every resident of the City of Monrovia including businesses & institutions located within the City and motorists. In addition, the plan calls upon all Liberians living abroad to contribute to the Recovery Program of the City of Monrovia.

We extend our appeal to all friends of Monrovia living aboard and out of the city to join us in cleaning the City of Monrovia and help this Grand Old City to regain its glorious status and rise to heights unknown by making a monthly or yearly contribution.Garbage CollectionThe current garbage collection system in Monrovia is grossly inadequate; therefore, the City needs to purchase two new (2) skip trucks (20) metal portable dumpsters, 4 pick-ups and ship to Monrovia the 2 garbage trucks donated by the City of Chicago, to be added to our current fleet for use with this program. The skip trucks will be used with the portable dumpsters, a few we have on the streets now for the residents to dump in at various locations in the city for daily pickup.Business houses will have to use garbage disposal bins to keep their garbage for disposal and residents will have to contain their garbage for disposable in affordable containers or bags.

All market places will now be required to contain their garbage and pay the necessary garbage fees for the delivery of garbage service.One of the objectives of the plan is to conduct massive education for our citizens both in the print and the electronic media. The goal is to help our citizens to understand that our health and safety is directly linked to the sanitary condition of our surroundings and the City of Monrovia as a whole.

Train and Empower the City Police for Enforcement of City Ordinances and other Police DutiesThe Monrovia City Police has not been left out of all the hard ships and difficulties faced by the City Government of Monrovia, not withstanding the City Police’s indispensable role in enforcing City Ordinances and other police duties cannot now be overemphasized.Training and logistics for the Monrovia City Police will greatly enhance the work of the Monrovia City Cooperation and restore law and order to the metropolitan Monrovia area.The City of Monrovia needs a well-trained Metropolitan Police Force.

It is imperative that this program begins immediately. Every major city in the world has its police force and Monrovia is no exception. The Liberian National Police needs to give space in our city to our City Police and theLiberian Government needs to recognize this and help to provide the necessary training and logistics for the city police to perform as intended.Cllr. Lawrence Morgan has been so kind and gracious for so many years allowing the City Police to use his premises on Broad Street as a Depot. He is now in urgent need of his premises compelling us to construct a depot on Broad Street near the Trinity Cathedral.

In addition to this all other depots need to be renovated and refurbished.The City Police Headquarters behind the Monrovia City Hall needs to be completed to provide office spaces and restore the dignity and uplift the moral of The Monrovia City Police.The Monrovia City CourtThe Monrovia City Court was created as a Judicial Arm of the City Government by an Act of Legislature in 1973 to be manned by a Magistrate and two Clerks.

The officers of this court including the Judge need to be appointed by the City Government of Monrovia. This matter will shortly be brought before the Chief Justice.The Monrovia Transit AuthorityThe Transportation System in Monrovia is in a chaotic state and The Monrovia Transit Authority was established in 1979 as a business entity created by the City Government of Monrovia to mainly institute and operate a public transport system for Monrovia and the Greater Monrovia Area.

We now call on the Monrovia Transit Authority to rise up to this great challenge and help meet the transportation needs of our people. The Monrovia Transit Authority needs to recognize that it is a business entity and must operate as such. The National Government and the City Government are cognizant of the fact that MTA has been badly managed and afflicted by the many years of national crisis.

It is now time that the National and City Governments give MTA the necessary support to jump start it and give it the opportunity to attract financing from banking institutions and others to enable it meet the growing transportation needs and become a viable and sustainable business entity.City and Communities BeautificationWith the natural landscape and other beautiful physical features of Monrovia, it should not take long before one who has an eye for natural beauty to appreciate this place.

We are grateful to the Almighty God. Nonetheless, we have a god-given responsibility to maintain the beauty He has given us. It is in this vain that the MCC in collaboration with communities will be involved in all of its programs. We will embark on a program to encourage our community dwellers and business owners to adopt surrounding blocks and areas to ensure their environment remains clean and clear of garbage and makeshift buildings. The President of Liberia is being requested to ensure that ministries and agencies of Government participate in these programs with the hope of keeping their surroundings and public buildings clean.

The Government cannot do it along.Relocation of Market Stalls to Suitable LocationsIt has become commonplace for people to build market stalls at any place in the city. We can understand why at this time but it has to stop. We are vigorously in search of suitable places to relocate marketers who have crowded the streets and sidewalks and other unsuitable public places.

Making our Beaches and Rivers in and around Monrovia Tourist FriendlyMonrovia’s golden sandy beaches are among the most beautiful ocean front beaches in the world. Our beaches and rivers could be sources of tremendous income and provide employment for many of Monrovia’s residents who are currently unemployed.Sewer System & Community ToiletsThe sewer system in Monrovia is a disaster, and it has put our health in great peril.

On Broad Street, Monrovia’s prime business street, has had open sewer for decades. When it rains, Center Street and other low lying areas in Monrovia become impassible, uninhabitable and outright dangerous. Waterside, the nerve center of Monrovia’s commercial life, has sewer rolling down the hill on Mechlin Street. Plastics bags of human feces are openly disposed off in the streets, yards, sidewalks, rooftops or just anywhere. Adults and children openly defecate.

How long can this go on!In light of these problems, the City of Monrovia will work with other government agencies to address this problem and build community toilets. In addition, the City of Monrovia will embark upon an education campaign to improve sanitation in Monrovia.Street Repairs & Traffic SignsMonrovia has become very dangerous for all because of crumbling streets and car accidents.

We congratulate the Ministry of Public Works for the actions now being taken which will also decrease the damage to our vehicles and improve our transportation system. I propose that we also work with Liberian National Police to have safety signs installed at all intersections to assist motorist. This will improve and enhance the quality of our lives.

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