Garbage In, Garbage Out: Official Orders Cleanup After Radio Station Reports on Waste

Dec 122008
  • Knight International trainees Marie Therese Kone, right, and Alybadra Camara, center, talk to a Nzerekore resident about the city’s garbage problem. PHOTO CREDIT: Vianney Missumbi

A report in early July by local radio journalists about uncollected garbage lying everywhere in Nzerekore, Guinea, got immediate results, reports Vianney Missumbi. A Knight International Journalism Fellow, Missumbi worked with journalists at the local radio station from July 1-9 as part of an ICFJ program that is preparing journalists across Guinea to cover the country's first parliamentary elections, expected in early 2009.

Missumbi says Pe Mamady Gbany, the deputy mayor of Nzerekore, a city in southeastern Guinea, ordered a cleanup after hearing the report by radio journalist Marie Therese Kone, assisted by colleague, journalist Alybadra Camara.

The failure to collect waste is linked to a high incidence of food-borne illnesses and outbreaks of malaria and cholera, which disproportionately affect children in the area, Missumbi says.

The garbage problem was among the issues covered during Missumbi's workshops and in-the-field training sessions in Nzerekore. Another important local issue tackled by the trainees: traffic congestion and accidents.