GANTA, Nimba – Residents of the LPMC Bypass and the Valley communities in Ganta are calling on the Gompa City Corporation to relocate a garbage site that is in the middle of the communities, three schools, and a worship center.
The residents have complained that the huge deposit of garbage in the area poses a health risk. The citizens are concerned because thousands of people live in the vicinity of the dump site.
“You cannot even sit to eat your own food in peace because of the flies,” said Lenmeo G. Saye, community mobilization chair and advisor to the LPMC Bypass community. “I think you yourself can see the flies all around here.”
“We are not saying that they should bring [earthmoving equipment] here to push the dirt in the valley; what we are saying is that the sight should be relocated – this place is in the city,” he added.
Another person who has expressed a concern over the dump site is a resident of the community, Solomon Gbanah, who lives a stone’s throw away. He said the odor from the garbage is uncomfortable to residents of the community and others who frequent the area.
“The dirt is causing a serious problem for us in this community and even people passing on the road,” he said. “The smell from the dump site cannot even permit us to sit in front of our own houses; we cannot even sit outside to eat again because you and the flies will eat together.”
Gbanah said there is an urgent need for the government to intervene to resolve the issue. He said the head of the City Corporation has informed them that the location was certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for the garbage disposal and that they do not yet have any plan for relocation.
Samuel V. Mehn, chairman of Valley Community, informed The Bush Chicken that the selection of the site was not done in consultation with the communities. He said if consultations were done with leaders of the communities, the site would not have been selected, considering the health implications.
“We want to let the public to know that the area selected by the [Gompa] City Corporation for the dumping of garbage is not in our interest,” he said. “The Valley they are talking about is the source of water for the people living in the Valley Community; they use the creek to wash [and] get water for cooking and bathing because we don’t have enough pumps there for the people.”
Mayor Benjamin Dokpa said the need to have the community involved in the site selection was not necessary as the land under question is a government facility and was duly certified by the EPA for use.
“That place was certified; I don’t know why people will be calling for the relocation of the place,” he said. “And that place in question is a government land; it belongs to the [Liberia Produce and marketing Corporation]; the government school you see there is on the land.”
Dokpa added that the area has been used as a dump site for the past six months, after being certified and approved by the EPA.
“You only bringing health implications issue now,” he said. “It is EPA who will tell you whether the place is certified for dumping garbage or not.”
He said the city is currently limited in relocating the site because it does not have the necessary finance.
“If we had the means, we could relocate the site,” he added. “But where will you go now, except purchasing private land and we don’t even have the capacity to do so now. To buy 10 acres of land will cost you almost US$10,000 and money generated in the system cannot reach half of that money.”
However, despite Dokpa’s insistence that the EPA approved of the site, the EPA inspector in Nimba, Perry Newray, has told The Bush Chicken that his entity was not aware that the site had been established for dumping waste.
“We have told them to remove the site,” Newray said. “And they have assured us that they are currently negotiating for another area to relocate that garbage site.”
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah