By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Residents at the Kissy Dock Yard Community in the Eastern part of the capital , Freetown, have called on the government to relocate one of the country’s biggest dumpsite, Bomeh, in the municipality, as they say it possess a threat to their lives as the toxic wastes from the site is affecting their community and the living things around them.
Lead campaigner and one of the key Stakeholder in the Kissy Dock Yard Community, Yakuba Daboh, said, as a community, they have been affected by the dumpsite for many, many years with the toxic wastes, fumes and smoke adding that it’s unbearable on them as their lives continue to ruin including their children, whilst also affecting the schools, mosques and other places in their surroundings thus stating “they can’t continue to be affected by this danger on their lives and properties’’
“In January, we formed the United Kissy Dock Yard Community; we have a plethora of problems in the Kissy community and its environs. We thought it that we need to set up a body that will man the affairs of the community and that was the reason we formed this organization in January. we created a consensus as an organization, as we were looking at things that were affecting us and we highlighted the Bomeh dumpsite , a very big threat in the East part of the municipality most especially in our area where we are presently living like Kissy Dock Yard, Upgun , Kanikay community, Culvert , Kissy Brook and its other environs ,’’he said, adding that even the schools around these communities have been affected and the many lives of children , thus they decided to take up this challenge to urged the government to relocate the Bomeh dumpsite.
He said that they have written many letters to many government stakeholders in the country and have copied the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Lands, Housing and country Planning and even the Minister of Justice adding that as a community, they did it, should the government decides not adhere to their complain, they will get up one day and protest in which they know the state might send Law enforcement officers in their community hence the reason they copy the country’s Justice Ministry.
“We have had meeting with the Freetown City Council and they came to us after many, many pressure which we gave them and they came on the ground and addressed the community. City Council told us that they were not the only players for the relocation of the dumpsite. They told us that the Ministry of Local government, and Rural development were also a key partners in facilitating the relocation, including Lands, Housing and Country Planning,’’ Yakuba Daboh added, but however said the council officials urged them to continue calling for the relocation of the dumpsite and to meet with other key players to make them see the need for their call.
Daboh added that, they have also written a letter to the Minster of Local government and rural development and have copied a letter to President Julius Maada Bio to take action over their call stating that after that they will write and open letter to the President
“After the open letter, we have other actions we want to take as a community but we are not ready to let go off this issue. The dumpsite is affecting us and our health. The health hazard which this Bomeh is posing, in our communities is very crystal clear from massive smoke 24 hours , smell and odour. In the rainy seasons, there are so many flies and all those bad toxic wastes among others. The challenges are too much on us. This are the reasons that prompt us,’’ the lead campaigner and stakeholder emphasized.
It could recalled that in 2017, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Harmful substances , Baskut Tuncak in a visit to the West African nation told press men that he observed there was a severe impact on Human Rights from hazardous wastes thus emphasizing the need for an increased monitoring of water , air and chemical pollution in the country.
“In Sierra Leone, I observed severe impacts on human rights from hazardous substances and wastes. For example ,I witnessed communities in and around the Freetown’s largest waste dump -including Children and pregnant women-breathing the dark haze of air pollution, drinking ,bathing and cleaning in toxic water ,and eating meat contaminated by waste,” Mr. Tuncak stated during a press conference.