WRITTEN BY Al-Hassan Bisru Shillyn Mansaray Jr

LET’S TALK ABOUT SIERRA LEONE’S ENTAGLEMENT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT

It is no news! Yes, no news and with widespread understanding that Sierra Leone, together with the rest of the world, is fighting a global pandemic. It’s impact has such a negative effect on normal human activities, with a cloak of fear hanging on broodingly. The more stressed people are the more overwhelmed the proclaimed SUPER POWERS become. Sadly the ripple effect has no boundaries, it has left us all fighting to survive at all cost. Our survival has increasingly morbid effects on everything around us,more so the environment.

In my country, Sierra Leone- our capital city has been prone to environmental disasters for the past few years due to environmental pollution, lack of  proper environmental engineering, waste management regulations and enforcement. 

Rather unfortunately PANDEMIC or not, rainfall has not been given a vacation. The degree with which rainfall ravages our environment year in – year out is becoming a worrisome trend. How can we increase awareness to those people living in make-shift communities? – As their fate remains pitiful, leaving the vulnerable exposed and their environment a hub for disaster.

What more can we do to prevent the perennial scourge that is brought by the violent downpours on our hills and valleys. This situation is a sad reality that echoes our cries. Simply put, we don’t need another disaster all because prompt adequate measures are not being taken by all.

Sadly this has become mere rhetoric: In Sierra Leone, especially Freetown, when it rains and rains heavily, fear engulfs everyone.  It humbles us all, as we think of loved ones who have lost lives and property.

A good number of Freetown residents with special reference to people living in the deforested east end of town, have been crying for help. Sadly, it seems unconsciously that they them selves have been inflicting self-harm.

Already the rains are beginning to hit the ground right here at King George Avenue, Dockyard, Kissy and it’s scary.  The rains are here with a ferocious intensity and I feel like the authorities and squatters alike remain unprepared as always. Our meteorological department in recent times are stepping up with weather forecast updates but I doubt they are using the right channels. It seems as good as dead, if information is not disseminated well. As a result, we the citizens are used to  expecting little or no information in terms of possible evacuation if the need arises.

To be frank enough, I am trying hard not to be considered a pessimist, but judging from the manner in which we keep watching with reckless abandon mainly on the part of those whose responsibility it is. If we fail to tackle previous flood issues as a nation, it won’t surprise some of us if what looks like an annual ritual should repeat its ugliness. Be warned that it could cause an un-calculated damage as a result of the perennial “drainage trouble”.

For sure residents will continue to fill the water ways with garbage and expect government to come clean it up: (shiorrrrrrr sidom dae, kak leh rain kerr u panbodi)! It’s frightening to think  that this nation might have to relive the 14th August mudslide nightmare. That horrible morning – with just one rumble of the earth our nation was put into jeopardy.The havoc it caused was catastrophic and rendered many people homeless to this very day. 

Sadly,it seems like we did not take heed from that disaster. I don’t know for you but as far as it concerns me there is no need to sit like royals waiting on Freetown City Council to come clean up whilst we watch our drains drag another multitude to an early demise. Hypothetically, please forget government with regards to this issue because we both know they are not bothered as much. They are influenced by issues that are above me.

When pondering on this situation, I thought of stories handed down about the good old sanitary officers.  It will be timely to bring them back, as long as they do not come with the ‘Dabaru‘ which rendered their job useless back then. We should all be ready  to put country first.

We have lost far too many lives and properties to whammy situations that we could have prevented without having to manage them. Although, we know some choose to allow the ruins because a selected few were benefiting at the expense of the masses. 

The community in collaboration with its youth can as well try the following efforts to ensure a safe and secured environment:

  1. SUSTAINABLE DRAINAGE……Create a well planned waterway in and around flood prone communities when building our houses, that can withstand the force that is brought by the water. Frequent clearing of the waterways of debris, would also do a great good.

  1. PERMEABLE SIDEWALKS…..this is a great idea because unlike concrete, permeable footpath absorbs water into the soil instead of letting it overflow into gutters which eventually runs over.

  1. PLAN FOR THE WORSE……Even if all measures are being met, never forget to prepare for the unexpected. You can try to store up sand banks just in case the water finds its way to were you are. Be vigilant for damage caused to electricity infrastructure during heavy downpours. Work on planting more trees. 

  1. SENSITIZATION…….Provide the prerequisite information to fellow residents before and during the rainy season as to what should and shouldn’t be done. When we become our neighbour’s keeper, it will enable damage control as well as saves lives. We might not have state-of-the-art weather forecasting technology but using local mainstream medium is just as on point especially the NEW MEDIA.

  1. BECOME INVOLVED……It is imperative on us to be robust and not leave it all with government and environmentalists to put measures in place. It should be our collective responsibility to mitigate the destruction caused by the rains.

Hope we all become proactive especially during those long pouring nights. Stay on your guard, in case of any eventuality. They say a word to the wise is quite sufficient.



About Me

Al-Hassan Bisru Shillyn Mansaray Jr. (Sanna Shyllin) is a professional photographer at WebMonster Photography and also chef and owner at HALAL KITCHEN; the home of affordable and crisp fries. He finds joy both at kitchen countertops and pushing pen geared towards telling stories that resonates with present day activities. 

Written by: arianadiaries

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5 Comments

  • Youth Ambassador, Mohamed Basiru Sanusi

    Well detailed….

  • Kella Kay

    Great write up. Salone needs so much work this rainy season, we are all in this together. Keep it up Sir..

  • Uncle Karim

    This is a serious issue in this country presently. For the past 3 years we has been impacted several times with flooding or related issues. So like you stated, this is a high time we be on our toes to protet each another during this raining season. Since government cannot protect the people, hense only God can be our protector.

  • Memunatu Kamara

    A factual report that encapsulates the environmental issues that should be high on government agenda to manage our water resources from the heavy rainfalls and invest in the infrastructure that will facilitate pipeborne water into homes.
    Moreover, the government must implement and enforce ‘no go’ areas within disaster prone areas to prevent construction of homes and prevent people from living within those disaster prone zones.
    I commend the author of this report for capturing this problem with such precision and proffering possible solutions. Thank you Mr Mansaray.

  • Mohamed Mustapha Kargbo

    Great piece that needs urgent application. We should learn to protect our environments instead of for disaster to occur. Thanks Ariana Diaries