The British High Commission in Freetown and the European Union Delegation in Sierra Leone in collaboration with Shout Climate Change Africa and the government of Sierra Leone through the National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism organised a beach clean-up exercise on Saturday, 8th June 2019 to commemorate this year’s World Oceans Day under the theme “Gender and the Oceans”.

The event was organised to mobilise communities to clean the Aberdeen, Lumley and Levuma Beaches and raise awareness on the negative effect of plastic pollution to the oceans and the actions we can take to protect the oceans and its species.

Addressing all participants as "friends of the beach, friends of the ocean and friends of the environment", EU Ambassador Tom Vens underlined the importance of a long term strategy to beat beach and marine pollution. He said: "To preserve the wonderful resource of Sierra Leone's oceans and beaches, we have to turn the tide not only on plastic pollution, but also on illegal fishing and sand mining."

In her statement, Her Worship the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said: “Due to the slow decomposition of solid waste and plastic materials, plastic accumulates in the seas, oceans and beaches worldwide where research has found out the existence of plastic residues in marine species such as turtle, whales, birds as well as fish and other marine creatures thereby entering the human food chain. There is need to control plastic pollution alongside its economic and convenient uses especially the single used plastic products and solid wastes.”

The acting British High Commissioner, Mr Alistair White in his statement emphasise the importance of keeping the beaches clean as always. He Said:

“Sierra Leone beaches are one of the country’s key tourist attraction locations. They are also essential to our environment and therefore livelihoods and sustainable economic growth. We need to protect our oceans and beaches to safeguard marine environments, species and economies.”

The beach cleaning event was graced by members of the Diplomatic Corps, International organisations, Civil Society organisations, community youths, The RSLAF and Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Including the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Environmental Protection Agency, collecting more than 200 bags of litter from the Lumley, Aberdeen and Levuma Beaches in Freetown.

Director General Right Julius Mattai and Hon, Minister of Mineral Resources FodayRadoYokie

Mines and Mineral Resources Director –General Julius Mattai,on Tuesday June 11, 2019 explained that the rainy season has caused to geophysical survey of the country to be suspended for now.

He however  informed the press that 75% of the work had been done so far, on the Countrywide Airborne Geophysical Survey.

He was speaking at the Ministry of Information Conference Hall in Freetown while addressing the Press.

Giving an update on the countrywide Airborne Geophysical Survey, the Director-General of NMA, Julius Mattai said that there are several companies that opted for the airborne survey but Xcalibur Airbone Geophysical Survey (XAG), company won the bid and was contracted to undertake the countrywide survey, and has successfully surveyed and collected data of over 75% of the country.

He further stated that the company has flown a total of 411,548.5-line Km, with an outstanding 135,994.5- line Km. He said that due to the rains, it has distort radiometric survey readings and would affect pilot and aircraft safety, the airborne survey has been suspended and will recommence in October 2019 for completion of the remaining 25% of the survey.

He said that the Government with support from the World Bank is undertaking the countrywide airborne geophysical survey to collect reliable geophysical data that will help to determine the mineral potential of the country.

“We are assuring the general public of our commitment to transparency and accountability in the mineral sector, and will provide further update in due course.”

In his statement, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, said that the survey will unlock and ascertain Sierra Leone mineral wealth, in the most comprehensive way ever. He stated that the main primary objective of the survey is to acquire and high quality geoscientific datasets that is required for profitable minerals development and the optimization of benefit from mineral deposits in Sierra Leone.

He explained that their where set criteria based on specification developed by a South Africa firm, Geofocus, and in consultation with the World Bank and MMMR required among other things geared towards attaining reliable and high resolution data.

He emphasized on President Bio’s Commitment on developing the mineral sector. President Bio commissioned the aircraft for the Nationwide Airborne Geophysical Survey on January 28, 2019 at the Freetown International Airport.

The Minister furtherexplained the challenges so far said the incidence of bush fires was however eventually minimized as a result of nationwide consultations with the Paramount Chief and local leaders.

The services of quality control and quality assurance firm, Reid Geophysics Ltd was also hired to ensure that the nationwide airborne geophysical survey is expected in an efficient manner and that all aspects of the project including fight parameters, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation are conducted consistent with the terms of reference and contract agreed upon for the survey.

He however said that as a result of some administrative delays data acquisition commenced in early February, 2019 concludes that production rate was also affected by delays in securing over-border flight clearances for Guinea and Liberia; and pilot visibility problems due to indiscriminate bush fires around the country. FrontPage14062019.

 

 

Ethiopia’s waste-to-energy plant is a first in Africa

For half a century, the Koshe dump site has been the only landfill in Addis Ababa. As the city has expanded, the landfill – which used to lie on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital – has become part of the urban landscape, sprawling over an area the size of 36 football pitches and attracting hundreds of waste pickers who make their living from salvaged trash. Earlier this year, a landslide on the dump site killed 114 people, prompting the government to declare three days of mourning.

But a new waste-to-energy plant is set to transform the site and revolutionize the entire city’s approach to dealing with waste. The plant, which is due to begin operating in January, will incinerate 1,400 tons of waste every day – that’s roughly 80 per cent of the city’s rubbish – all while supplying Addis with 30 per cent of its household electricity needs and meeting European standards on air emissions.

    “We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region, and around the world.”

The facility, which is the result of a partnership between the Government of Ethiopia and a consortium of international companies, is the first of its kind in Africa.

“The Reppie project is just one component of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to address pollution and embrace renewable energy across all sectors of the economy,” said Zerubabel Getachew, Ethiopia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in Nairobi. “We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region, and around the world.”

In waste-to-energy incineration plants, rubbish is burned in a combustion chamber. The resulting heat is used to boil water until it turns to steam, which drives a turbine generator that produces electricity.

In cities where land is in short supply, “waste-to-energy” incineration is a quadruple win: it saves precious space, generates electricity, prevents the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater, and reduces the release of methane — a potent greenhouse gas generated in landfills — into the atmosphere.

Waste incineration is popular in Europe, where nearly one quarter of all municipal solid waste is incinerated. France alone has 126 waste-to-energy plants, while Germany has 121 and Italy 40.

Like its European counterparts, the Reppie plant operates within the strict emission limits of the European Union. The plant adopts modern back-end flue gas treatment technology to drastically reduce the release of heavy metals and dioxins produced from the burning.

The project is the result of a partnership between the Government of Ethiopia and a consortium of international companies: Cambridge Industries Limited (Singapore), China National Electric Engineering and Ramboll, a Danish engineering firm. The consortium was established to design, construct and in some cases own waste-to-energy facilities customized for Sub-Saharan Africa. Reppie is the first of what the consortium hopes will be a series of such facilities in major cities across the region.

Pollution is the theme of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly, which is gathering in Nairobi, Kenya from 4-6 December. Sign the #BeatPollution pledge and join the global movement towards a pollution-free planet.

Credit: www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:The Spotlight on Bonthe

By Ahmed SahidNasralla (De Monk)

The eroding sea-face wall is a concern for the people of Bonthe

In January 2015, during the Ebola outbreak, I arrived in Bonthe Sherbro Island, Southern Sierra Leone, leading a team of young reporters covering districts that were recording 42 days without any Ebola case. Bonthe District was the only district that did not record a single Ebola case throughout the deadly outbreak. But the once powerful Island was suffering from a much more severe man-made disease relating to political neglect, rejection and dejection. The frustration of the almost 10,000 inhabitants was summed by their exuberant Mayor Layemin Joe Sandi in his call for an ‘urgent Cabinet decision’ to rescue Bonthe District from its predicament Four years later, I travelled to Bonthe with NGO SEND Sierra Leone to officially launch a project for safe drinking water for 50 remote communities in the Sherbro Islands of Dema and Sittia chiefdoms. Now that there’s a new President of Sierra Leone who happens to hail from Bonthe District, I asked Mayor Sandi what is the mood in the island and what has changed in the essential areas of political administration, education, health, economy, security and sports.

 

Politically

At the moment the District Officer who used to be at the Mattru Jong chiefdom has relocated. We have started interfacing with the different organizations in communities and this is laudable and encouraging.

In terms of hearing our voice and central government hearing our plans, it has changed. Now we go to offices, they listen and attend to us positively; for example, the Ministry of Works and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority. When we take the concern of the sea face wall, in-township road project on the poor way it was done, they have changed the entire concept. They are doing a different work in terms of the topography we have. As I am talking to you know, the sea facewall and in-township road projects are ongoing but the only challenge we have at the moment is the landing of materials because it is a riverine area. This is slowing down the implementation and our fear now is whether they are going to complete the projects on time if this challenge continues.

The Ministry of Social welfare is equally doing well for us in the delivery of services from the Council.

We want to take good advantage of the current political will and fix the issues affecting Bonthe as the District Headquarter Town.

 

Education

Bonthe is a fine place to promote education. Council has launched the Free Quality Education Program (FQEP) and the support is coming from the government. Books have been distributed to schools but more is yet to be actualized. Schools that are supposed to receive subsidies are getting that but our biggest challenge is that the school buildings are colonial in nature.

But if the scheme is to succeed, then government should pay more attention to teachers and also infrastructure because when a child has a comfortable environment to learn, then he/she will learn faster.

The greatest challenge in the Sherbro Island has been water and the water we are drinking has a lot of salt in it. The water resembles clay. There is no school with WASH facilities not to talk about good toilet. We are advocating to the Ministry to provide us with wells to solve the problem of water.

 

Health

We have been doing well in the area of health and Council has been collaborating effectively with CUAMM (Doctors with Africa) Sierra Leone because their response in the hospital is great as they have strengthened it with a blood bank, solar lights, funds for fuel and lubricants which complements our efforts and ensure that things are working in the hospital.

They are also providing referral services for pregnant women and that has reduced maternal mortality in the municipality. As a Council, we are ensuring that if the organization is doing all of these, we make sure that food is in the hospital throughout. Also, we have ensured that we provide essential drugs that are not in the hospital free-of-cost for especially pregnant women, children under-five and the aged.

Council is also providing support to the doctors. I was reliably informed that government has been paying housing allowances for doctors but nothing has been working in that direction. Interestingly, Council has been paying for housing for doctors.

Also, we will start providing tea and other incentives for nurses, especially those who are not on salary, who stay late at night with pregnant women so that they will be motivated to do more.

The monthly cleaning introduced by President Maada Bio has made Bonthe one of the cleanest places in the country. Council is engaging 1,100 youths with all of them receiving Le40,000 each. A total of Le44, 000,000 is being injected every first Saturday into the community.

Council hasfurther purchased cleaning tools and motorbikes for monitoring during the cleaning exercise.We ensure the total involvement of all 18 Sectional Heads to add up to the team of Council Staff and Councilors who ably supervise the monthly cleaning exercise. Six million Leones for coordination is used to motivate them and fuel provided for bikes to facilitate the monitoring process.

Additionally, Council and the people of BontheSherbro Island are happy and grateful to the ngo SEND Sierra Leone and their donors for their just-launched project which seeks to ensure our people have clean drinking water and other WASH facilities.

Electricity

The solar street lights have outlived their usefulness but we have been able to attract 200 modernized street lights, although we actually need more.

Economic opportunities

At the moment, economic activity is very poor which is why we are advocating for us to go into tourism because we believe that we can turn around the economy. Because of the low income earners we have in the district, we have low quality and substandard goods in the market. The fish processing sites we have are still not been utilized. We are working with the Fisheries ministry to ensure that they are fully operationalized.

Honestly, the economy of Bonthe is nothing to write home about and having infrastructure in place is a basic requirement in tourism.

Our sources of revenue are taxes, house rates and market dues but to get the people to honour these obligations is a huge challenge for Council. If we want to implement the law to the letter, then it will be a problem. The population size of Bonthe is almost about 10,000.

We want Dema and Sittia to be part of Bonthe. We are being faced with the actualities of the day and Council should be able to generate its own revenue to sustain it.

Sports

In the area of sports, we have been collaborating with SLADEA and their Bread for the World project has constructed a perimeter fence around the football field. It has been there for a while with no one to assist us. We have taken the issue to the Sport ministry and they have pledged to work collaboratively with Council to have a mini stadium with a football field.

Security

We are still deprived in the area of security. The police barracks is still here empty, with no police officers. At the moment, we only have 10 police officers to man the entire municipality and the entire Sherbro islands of Dema and Sittia. We are expecting the police to have their presence everywhere to ensure control of crime.

Challenges

We have challenges with other institutions but what is stressing the Council so much is staffing. Staffs are sent to us on punishment grounds. We have let the local government service commission know that if they send any staff now on punishment grounds, we will reject them out rightly. We think transfer should be fairly done and staff should not be made aware that they are being transferred to far away Bonthe on punishment grounds as they will not give their best. Every staff in the local council family should be given a fair opportunity to taste of every environment in this country and not special staff for special councils. Some of them who are currently here on punishment come in some time once a week and that undermines the operation of the Council as well as service delivery and writing of reports. We see it as a disservice to the Council and the country as a whole. FrontPage 04042019.

 

Credit: Development and Economic Journalists Association (DEJA-SL).

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