Two weeks before New Year’s Eve, Libreville, the capital of oil-rich Gabon, has begun to look more like a dumping site than a modern city inhabited by human beings.
More than 2 000 packed garbage bins alongside another 4 000 tons f waste thrown on the floor were at the time of going to press left unattended at various suburbs and townships of the city’s six districts.
Altogether, the waste was estimated to weigh about 9 000 tons, Gabon Review reported, adding that neither the public health minister nor the mayor of Libreville and other city high ranking officials had intervened to solve the problem.
The stink comes as the country prepares to host yet another edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which kicks off on 14 January 2017.
“It’s a difficult situation for us, the smell goes through the house all day and night long. Eating and sleeping become a challenge,” one resident was quoted by Gabon Review as saying.
The problem, which has been compounded by the rain that has been falling on the city, is reportedly was caused by a strike by waste collectors who have been demanding, among others, that their salary be increased to about US$300. Gabon is said to have one of the poorest waste management policies in Africa.
The troubled Central African nation, which is still recovering by a post-electoral violence that killed and injured dozens of anti-Ali Bongo protesters, has been hit by a wave of strikes in the past two years, a trend that is calling into question the Bongo family’s capacity to continue ruling the country.
The current head of state, described by critics and opposition politicians as a dictator, took over from his father Omar Bongo, who died in June 2009. His father ruled Gabon for 42 years.
Image by Gabon Review