13 February 2017

Sierra Leone: Freetown May Lose Dumpsites to Encroachers

Residents of Freetown have expressed grave concern over the way and manner in which people are encroaching and constructing makeshift dwelling houses on dumpsite, thus calling on the appropriate authorities to take necessary action by putting a stop to such menace.

Currently, the entire municipality of Freetown has just two major dumpsites - one at Granville Brook, popularly known as Ferry Junction in the east, while the other is located at Gray Bush in Kingtom, western Freetown.

At the moment, only the dumpsite at Granville Brook (Bomeh) is partially fenced, while the one at Kingtom remains exposed, thus allowing encroachers to construct make-shift structures to reside.

One of the concerned residents, Christian Allieu, a senior civil servant, told this reporter that persistent encroachment on the two main dumpsites in Freetown was creating a lot of embarrassment.

"Some people are in the habit of depositing wastes on the street, while others deposit theirs in drainages because they are lazy to take them to the main dumpsites. Probably, the dumpsites are becoming smaller everyday as a result of encroachment," he said.

He called on the government to demolish all the make-shift structures built very close to the dumpsites, so as to prevent encroachers.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Freetown City Council (FCC), Cyril Mattia, admitted that they were aware that people have been constructing make-shift structures very close to dumpsites.

"Even the transit points have been encroached. These transit points were used by people to deposit wastes and MASADA in turn will collect and deposit them at Granville Brook and Kingtom dumpsites. Sometimes the transit points serve as incinerators to burn the waste. Most of them are no more in this municipality," the FCC PRO confirmed.

He disclosed that many people have constructed stalls, entertainment centres, barbing shops, charging and telecentres, repairing or parking garages, among others, at the dumpsite.

"What actually has caused problem for this council in terms of cleaning the municipality of Freetown is that, cleaning the city has always been passed from one hand to another. It has not always been the responsibility of the council. During the time of the OAU in the 80s, a private person was cleaning Freetown. After which, it was handed over to the Ministry of Health Sanitation, and then the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and to the Freetown Waste Management Company and now MASADA," he said.

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