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Plastic wastes in the city: Finding out how Mila is recycling its wastes

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

Waste, particularly those of plastics are presently a big problem for the Freetown Municipality. On a daily basis these wastes are littered in the city thereby causing unfriendly atmosphere and hectic problem for city cleaners. The act of littering plastic wastes is posing health hazards as well as harm to the environment for human beings, fish and other living things in the land and the sea.

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There are lot of companies now producing plastic materials in the country and many of these Companies are doing well to ensure they recycle their wastes well. However, not all of them are doing fine with their waste. Few among are obviously doing fine to ensure plastic waters and bottles produced are recycled or controlled.

Together with my Producer, Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya, we went out to look at the country’s environmental regulators on waste, what Masada wants to be done for people littering the city as well as Mila Group plastic company.

Mr. Anthony Davis is the Principal Consultant for both Mila Plastic and Masada Waste Management Company. He was authorised to speak to us on behalf of his clients.

Freetown is the capital city of Sierra Leone. According to the National statistics report, more than two million people cohabit in this West African city. During and after the civil war, many people decided to settle in Freetown in other to attract socio-economic needs. Like the forests around the peninsular reserve, the Freetown Municipality also faces her own problems. The city struggle daily, with filth resulting to huge garbage left unattended for the growing population.

The more the population continues to increase, the more the filth continues. This is posing a huge problem for residents in Freetown. Some Sierra Leoneans have accustomed to careless behaviour of dropping their plastic waste or other municipal wastes at any point without any due consideration of its health and related hazards in the society. What is really disgusting is the fact that most people emptied their packet water and throw the sachet on the streets thereby causing unnecessary rubbish in the city.

According to research, traders especially those in the markets and those engage in street trading are major contributors of plastic wastes littering around the city. It is widely known that anywhere one or more people are gathered, there must be some quantum of wastes deposited.

Freetown is not ideally located. It hills and valleys from the Mountains that run through the city are other contributing factors of waste movement from one point to another. Most of the gutters and drainages are blocked with either plastic wastes or other solid materials.

Kroobay is a slum dwelling community in Freetown. It is situated in the central part of the city and overlooking the Freetown Central Hospital. More than one thousand people including children reside in this deprived settlement. The samba gutter as it is commonly known is the only and main drainage that emptied its wastes collected from the Hills down to the community. In the rainy reason like this, most of the wastes that were piled by residents in their homes are now being emptied here in Kroobay.

There are hundreds of tons of plastic wastes that have accumulated here. Some are carried away by the precipitating flow of the waves in the banks. Because the community is deprived and there are no other means of doing any clean up here, more than 90% of plastics and other wastes are being used by residents to bank the waters in other to make their makeshift structures.

We made efforts to talk to most of the plastic water companies. Unfortunately, more than ninety percent of them are mushroom companies who are not properly monitored and regulated by either the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau or the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Even though they are Public servants of this country, officials at the Sanitation Department of the Ministry of Health refused us an interview.

Alie Jalloh is an official at the Sierra Leone Environment Protection Agency. He spoke of the dangers of plastics.

With more than 80% of plastic being littered around on a daily basis, Alie believes this have an impact on the environment

According to research, plastics can take more than 200 years before it can decompose and it continuous stay on the environment can cause more problems to humans and other living things.

Mr. Jalloh explained their response in ensuring producers of plastic and water drinks realize they are contributing towards littering of plastic wastes in the city

There are many plastic water and rubber producing companies in the country. Mr. Jalloh explained how they had partnered with the Ministry of Youths and Employment in other to expose young people about the benefits of plastics.

Mila is one of the major plastic producing companies in Sierra Leone a company that is engage in diverse plastic production for many Sierra Leoneans

The Company recycles its wastes in other to protect the environment. Due to other health related issues that might occur, Mila only recycles it wastes from its by-product already processed in the industry and they are ready to work with any competent authority to find ways to address waste issues.

Officials at the environment regulatory agency confirmed the possession of Mila with an Environment Impact Assessment license. As the company continue to produce large quantum of plastic products in the country, it also recognize the fact that contributing towards corporate social responsibilities in the Communities is crucial.

Masada is a waste management company operating in Sierra Leone. In 2014, it officially took over the waste management activities in the city and later across the country. Mr. Davies explained about Masada and its diverse waste collection activities.

Many people are used to throw their waste plastics into the streets of Freetown. As a Company handling solid waste collection and management in the country, he explained how they want to see the Freetown environment.

Although the laws are not fully implemented, throwing plastics and other wastes on the streets is a punishable offence. He explained more about guidelines and what government needs to do.

From collection to conversion and with about eight different public dumping sites in the country, Masada will engage on commercially viable activities.

In other countries, plastic wastes are used to make bricks and other related materials. Masada explained how they will go about recycling their own wastes in Sierra Leone. Mr. Karku believes having the required machinery is one way of enabling management of the wastes in the city. For the purpose of making good use of the wastes, the Company said they will not allow anyone to take the wastes from the dump site

Experts believe that recycling waste will not only save our natural resources but will also help save energy. Like what Mila Plastic Company is doing at its industry, a large amount of energy can be saved by simply reusing the plastic items. Recycling at the same time being earth friendly can help our planet and get a better place to live.

According to a UNICEF research, Africa’s population will double from 1.2 billion this year to 2.4 billion by 2050 which will result in a rush for waste management. The need to implement safe and environmentally friendly waste disposal of plastics is critical for Sierra Leone.

 

 

 

 

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