Liberia: Paynesville Risks Being Labeled One of the Dirtiest Cities in the World


WHEIN TOWN, Paynesville – The city of Paynesville on the outskirt of Monrovia stands the risk of being one of the dirtiest cities on the continent due to the collapse of the only aged bulldozer that was being used for the spreading of garbage at the Whein Town Landfill Waste site.

By Obediah Johnson

The facility is located in the Bona Farm, Telecom Community in Paynesville.

It was constructed by the government, through the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) project during the administration of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2012.

It was constructed along with two waste transfer stations on the Japanese Highway and Fiamah,, Sinkor respectively.

The damaged bulldozer was procured by the World Bank in 2015 to be used at the landfill for the leveling and pushing of waste at the facility.

Both the MCC and PCC are using the landfill in Wein’s Town to dump garbage, even though the site is being managed by the MCC. 

FrontPage Africa has reliably gathered from irreproachable sources that the bulldozer assigned at the site that was being used by both the Monrovia City Corporation and the Paynesville City Corporation has been grounded for more than a month now, making the site inaccessible to trucks loaded with garbage from the PCC.

Unlike the MCC, the PCC has no solid waste transfer station.

The denial of the PCC from using the landfill for just a day due to the lack of funds for operations makes the entire city filthy.

Waste and stockpile of garbage are seen at major intersections within the city, causing serious health hazard for pedestrians, motorists, residents and others.

 “The PCC is working but their hands are tied. They can’t continue to collect waste from the streets or city and there is nowhere for dumping. The bulldozer that has outlived its useless in Wein’s Town has been repaired more than eight times; I don’t think it is even useful again. The renting of heavy duty equipment is not a long term solution. New equipment should be procured and purchased. Cleaning and management waste collection requires a lot of money. To even establishment a single waste transfer station will cost around US$500,000,” a source who preferred not to be named stated.

The source continued: “For now, there is nowhere to dump the garbage and low budgetary allocation cannot allow the PCC to construct transfer stations like the MCC now.”

The World Bank funded Cheesemanburg Landfill and Urban Sanitation (CLUS) seems to favor the MCC over the PCC.

The Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the project is hosted at the MCC.

“We can see some of the PCC people here in the morning; but they are not really working like before. They are always saying to us that the place they can dump the dirt is full; and there is no machine there. When we asked them but why we can see MCC people carrying dirt in trucks and you people not doing the same, they can say, “we don’t have the same support”, Sarah Dennis, a used clothes seller in Red Light stated.

The locals speak

Emmanuel Wilson, 28, a resident of  Wein’s Town claimed that wells and pumps in the community have been contaminated, a situation which compels residents to travel long distances to fetch water for cooking and drinking purposes.

“We are finding it difficult; mosquitoes, flies and roaches are living with us. We don’t have safe drinking water; we went for water test and the people told us that the water is not safe for drinking. They told us that it was our septic tank; they don’t want to be truthful to us.”

Wilson stated that residents of the community are also finding it difficult to believe that the wells and pumps are not safe for drinking as a result of the construction of the septic tanks in the various communities.

He pointed out that despite the collapse of the only bulldozer at the site, the dumping of garbage continues during the evening and night hours.

“The painful part right now is, there is no machine (bulldozer) to spread the dirt. Almost two to three months now; they brought machine this few time but they said the machine was not in good condition and they carried it back. Since then, there is no machine (to spread the garbage). And so, they are just dumping now.”

Wilson observed that the future of the next generation of children from the community will not be guaranteed if steps are not taken to address the over piling of the garbage in the area.

He added that residents of the community are constrained to play low or slow down on agitating for the relocation of the landfill due to the lukewarm and non-compliance posture of those responsible to do so.

He maintained that all of the calls and actions from the citizens have not yielded any fruitful results, and as such, they are constrained to live with the current situation.

“People were getting sick frequently here when this site opened. But it’s like everyone is now getting used to it,” Wilson stated

 “My baby can’t sleep outside in the day because of the flies and the dirt (garbage). My daughter can get sick every time because of malaria and running stomach,” Josephine Bernard, 19, and a mother of a one-month old baby averred.

She expressed the fear that the lifespan of her baby remains threatened as a result of the current situation they are faced with.

“From the pump right in our yard here, we can only use the water to wash. We can buy water to drink here and we are experiencing financial hardship. I can buy a sac (satchet) of water L$150 every day.”

Escalating pollution during rainy season

According to Austin Wehyee, 29, Wein’s Town and other surrounding communities are normally polluted during the rainy season.

The rainy season runs from April to October in Liberia.

“From the time I moved in this community, the flies been giving us hard time. There is no good drinking water and that’s how we live here. We have talked on this and we are tired. Our children are always getting sick from malaria and typhoid; rats and roaches are all in our rooms.”

Wehyee recalled that the government and partners were providing mosquito nets to pregnant women and others in the community when the site was newly constructed.

But for more than four years now, he observed, that the locals are yet to benefit from such distribution.

He said since the damaged bulldozer was removed from the site in the midst of the dumping of garbage consistently, the stockpile of waste is getting closer to them.

Wehyee added that though there have been mounting calls for the relocation of the site because of its location in the city of Paynesville, nothing has been done up to present.

Rats big like opossum

Ma Mary Saye, 70, stated: “Since the dump site came here, the mosquitoes, flies, roaches and other creature names I don’t even know are too much. The rats are big, big like opossum. We don’t even have water here; we can buy sac of water every day.”

She said the situation is imposing additional economic constraints on them and their family members.

She added that residents cannot cook their food or have it share outside due to the evading of their homes by flies.

“People can really get sick here fast, fast. Only today this clinic here is not full with patients,” she added while pointing to a local clinic in the Telecom Community.

Mother Saye claimed that residents of the community have already given up and only “holding our hearts until government ready to take the dump site from here. We can’t move from here because, we stayed long living here and we don’t have nowhere to go.”

Confine indoors

Ma Sarah Gruawor, 57, is a charcoal seller in the Bonard Farm Community who has resided in Wein’s Town for about 10 years.

She said elders and others cannot sit on their front or back porches to hold discussions, especially during the rainy season due to the trooping of flies and mosquitoes in their areas.

“When we leave from our selling places to even sit down outside to our homes-no way. They used to distribute mosquito nets, but for years now they have stopped. The water here is not safe for drinking and we can always buy water from cars passing.”

She pointed out that the purchasing of water has added another burden on struggling parents who cannot even afford to find food for them and their children.

“We don’t even have food and we are buying water around here; there is no hand pump and we can get sick fast, fast. The place I’m sitting right now-I’m sick; my stomach was running yesterday.”

Ma Sarah said the death toll in the community would increase if government and its partners fail to provide logistical and other humanitarian supports to prevent the outbreak of water and air borne diseases in Wein’s Town.

“If I see the President today, I will tell him that this dump site is giving us hard time. We are not living like before because; the mosquitoes are making us sick.”

Malaria topping cases reported at clinics

The Bengee Medical and Maternity Clinic is one of the local health facilities providing treatment for locals in Wein’s Town and other surrounding communities.

The clinic is less than five minutes’ walk from the landfill site.

Madam Marie Paye Byepu is the Officer-In-Chief of the clinic.

Speaking in an interview with FrontPage Africa, Madam Byepu disclosed that malaria accounts for the highest number of cases reported at the facility.

She said patients with complicated cases of malaria are transferred to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and other hospitals.

“The most treated case among our patients is malaria and it is about 60%. Most of the children and pregnant women can have complications. Another is diarrhea because of the water. The water system in this place is very poor. You will find some people drinking water from wells and the dump site is there. When you pass around the dump site during the rainy season, you will see the green water draining from the garbage that has made a mountain and there is no way to stop it from flowing.”

Children are vulnerable

Madam Byepu noted that contaminated water from the dump site flows into the various communities, thereby contaminating wells and pumps.

She observed that children are the ones that are mostly exposed to the waste.

“Crawling and walking children under five years are playing in those communities without washing their hands. They are normally coming down with bloody diarrhea and vomiting and it is impossible for a mother to keep two or three years old walking child on her back for the whole day.”

She expressed disappointment over the lack of a proper drainage system to prevent contaminated flow of water into the communities from the landfill site.

Extra spending due to lack of subsidy

She maintained that in the absence of subsidy from the government, authorities of the clinic have been striving to provide adequate healthcare delivery to the influx of patients who turned out at the facility on a regular basis.

She expressed disappointment that despite the effective and efficient manner and form in which the clinic has been rendering health care services to the locals, the government, through the Ministry of Health has not seen the need to provide logistical and other financial support to the institution.

“We don’t even receive PPEs or clinical materials from the government. We always buy our own materials including the mosquito nets. Some pregnant women will come here and say they don’t have money to buy mosquito nets and we have to provide mosquito nets or give them money just to protect them and their babies from malaria. When this dump site remains, it will continue to harm us.”

Madam Byepu stressed that authorities at the clinic are constrained to spend huge money on the purchase of mosquito detergents to also keep insects and flies away from the clinic.

 “What I spent monthly at the clinic is almost more than what I earned. I feel like giving up sometimes because, nobody is coming to my aid or helping. Even when they are distributing the nets, we can’t even get it. ”


Despite the lack of support, she pointed out that they continue to carry out awareness to curtail the increase in malaria and other water or air borne diseases in Wein’s Town Telecom community.

She said emphasis has been placed on the significance of hands washing.

Madam Byepu indicated though the campaign is helping, the lack of adequate support to the clinic remains a challenge.

Confirmation of bulldozer down

Attorney Edwin Johnson is the Coordinator of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the Cheesemanburg Landfill and Urban Sanitation (CLUS) project of the World Bank.

He confirmed that for nearly two weeks, the bulldozer which commenced the start of the landfill project in Wein’s Town has not been functional.

“It is true that the bulldozer was confounded and it was procured under the PIU or CLUS project to serve on the landfill in compacting waste. While in the state of effective operations, it broke down.”

He disclosed that the MCC, headed by Jefferson Koijee is the administrator of the landfill site.

According to him, the corporation is currently in the process of repairing the bulldozer.

“We have been engaging the process and the Mayor has been very concerned. The mechanics in the country has engaged another mechanics abroad and he has now order the parts of the bulldozer. We hope to receive the parts in the country by the end of this month.”


He said while waiting the arriving of the ordered parts for the bulldozer, the PIU and the MCC have been “renting” another bulldozer.

Unfortunately, he disclosed, that the rented bulldozer also experienced mechanical problem and was taken away from the site by its owner.

Attorney Johnson noted that the damaged rented bulldozer is being repaired, while the PIU and MCC have engaged another equipment.

According to him, the equipment that has been engaged will be at the landfill three days from now, to help reduce the tension and burdens the two cities are faced with.

He said though he partially agreed that the absence of a bulldozer at the site is hindering the speedy collection of waste in Paynesville, the availability of the equipment there is not just a factor in supporting effective waste collection.

Attorney Johnson maintained that the solid waste system is structure in two categories, including primary and secondary with players expected to be effective in the collection of waste.

He observed that the key players of the waste management sector, including the Monrovia and Paynesville corporations are still challenged in relation to the provision of funding, maintenance of equipment, and other operations.

He said when funding from the government is delayed due to competing priorities, the operations of these corporations will be affected.

Not waiting for government

Attorney Johnson disclosed that MCC City Mayor Koijee has “always gone beyond by providing funding from the city’s coffers without waiting for the central government.”

“But at times, they are also constrain base on the city own expenditure and income generation. Though I am not the spokesman for the MCC, but I’m speaking as a PIU head because I interact with the two cities on a day to day basis.”

Not favoring MCC

Attorney Johnson denied speculations that the World Bank funded project gives preference to the MCC as compare to the PCC.

He termed the accusation as a “total dissolution and an outburst based on emotions.”

He pointed out that funding from the World Bank is distributed among the two cities based on their programs.

“The two cities do not have the same programs. The program of the MCC is more intensified and it hosts the seat of the government. It’s not as compare to Paynesville. The PIU provides funding as to supporting the two cities adequately. When there is a challenge from the central government, the two cities have to come in to provide some support.”

Attorney Johnson pointed out that the two cities are also given subsidies under the project based upon their performance.

“For the second quarter PCC has an amount of US$65,000 subsidy whereas MCC has US$79,000 based on their performance. These are subsidies that come in to supplement support for the sector in the absence of government support to provide the relevant grant appropriation. The statement that we favored one of the cities over the other should be condemned.”

He added that though the MCC is the one responsible to manage the landfill, the entity should not be left with all of the responsibilities in maintaining the equipment and operations.

Requested to help

Attorney Johnson observed that the management and operations of the landfill site mostly rest on the shoulders of the MCC.

He pointed out that in a bid to help alleviate some of the burdens on the MCC, he requested the PCC to aid with the operations of the site.

“The two cities have separate mandates and they were constituted on separate Acts. So, it’s prudent enough that the two cities start to take full responsibility even though the MCC will take the largest. Where MCC stops, PCC comes in at a very low level when it comes to the landfill management like providing fuel.”

Attorney Johnson further admitted that the PCC has been “trying it best and we understand that it has been challenged.”

Transfer stations

He observed that the lack of transfer stations for the PCC is imposing additional constraints on the corporation.

He, however, pointed out that the construction of transfer station for the PCC remains high on the agenda of the World Bank.

“As I speak to you now, the issue has been to identify land. We have had several reports developed and submitted sites and those sites were condemned based on the environmental studies. We have written PCC to search around for another land space. As soon as the land space is identified, that is keen on the priority of the World Bank through the PIU to ensure that transfer station is constructed for Paynesville City.”

Attorney Johnson further disclosed that the current World Bank sponsored project for the MCC and PCC which commenced in September 2017, is expected to climax June 2023.

According to him, a proposal for the extension of the project has been written to the World Bank by the Liberian government to achieve other activities under the Cheesemanburg Landfill and Urban Sanitation (CLUS) project.

The filths within the city of Paynesville would continue to increase on a daily basis if measures are not implored to promote the timely collection and disposal of waste at the only site being used by the corporation.

Already, marketers and others are agitating that despite the payment of huge some of monies for during businesses in the city, nothing is being done to prevent them from contracting diseases.

The situation has already generated verbal attacks on those heading the institution.

Workers of the PCC backed by officers cannot effectively and efficiently enforce the ordinances due to the failure of the corporation to keep the city clean at all times.

The relations between the Mayors of Monrovia and Paynesville do not appear to be friendly. Undermining for personal glorification and favor seems to be one of the factors impeding the relationship between the pair.

Paynesville City will be counted among the dirtiest cities in the world if collective efforts are not taken by the government and its partners to ensure the timely procurement of a standardized bulldozer that will be sued by the two cities, without any restriction or hindrance from the MCC.

Furthermore, waste transfer stations should also be constructed for the PCC to guarantee the timely collection of waste as compare to the MCC- which already has two transfer stations.

No safe drinking water