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Sierra Leone News: War on Freetown filth

front page 13Freetown is under attack by filth. Mountains of garbage cascade the sides of many roads, streets and sidewalks, emitting a pungent stench to the delight of flies, mosquitoes and rodents.
The messy divorce between Massada waste management company and the Freetown City Council (FCC) has compounded the situation.
Like most people who stay close to a trash deposit transit point, Mariatu Kamara spends Le3,500 a week on mosquito coils. She also uses cans of insecticide at Le10,000 each. She regularly gets malaria even though she sleeps under a net.
The Freetown City Council (FCC), Ward C, the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Health and Sanitation and youth groups involved in Operation Clean Freetown, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), yesterday, to rid the streets of Freetown from filth. Team Leader, President’s Delivery Team (PDT), Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, said, “102 youth groups of 10-20 young people, were selected and the leaders of the selected groups are at this meeting to sign an MoU.”“The Mou is part of a bigger plan,” Yvonne explained. “Operation clean Freetown is a program to bring sustained waste management to the city to the 49 wards of Western Urban and the 11 wards of Western Rural.” She explained, “this would be done in three phases the first phase is the preparation phase in which we identify all the groups. They’ve been trained on waste management, business services and how to run a business. The training is going to last for 15 months,” Yvonne said. In Tengbeh Town, entrepreneur, Oju Moses, the founder of Mr. Garbage, uses a similar community-based approach to waste management. “We were advised that collecting garbage from households for a minimal fee would be sustainable in terms of raising funds for developmental purposes. Thus, Mr. Garbage was born,” he revealed.Mr. Garbage now has 14 staff of which 7 are administrative and the other 7 are field workers. He said his staff are young people who were unemployed and living in the community.The PDT person added, “We will flatten the dumpsites to ensure that it is well compact so that when the cleaning starts there would be space at the deposit site.” She explained, “A key part of the program is to achieve sustainable waste management and also support to FCC to ensure that everyone have a system to dispose waste.
Next week, these youth cleaning groups will go door-to-door. If households want to have their garbage picked up, bags will be supplied and customers will pay Le2,000. The trash will be taken to a transit site and then removed to the large dumpsites by Massada.
The funders of the project include the Government of Sierra Leone with a Le5 billion and DiFd Le6 billion,” she said. FCC’s Mayor, Sam Bode Gibson, said, “This scheme is not a result of the saga between the Council and Massada. It is not because of Massada… it’s only accidental that the Massada issue collides with this scheme…”
Alhassan Cole, Western Area District Council, said, “We’re not challenging Massada. We want to overcome them.”
By Ophaniel Gooding
Thursday April 13, 2017.

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