Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2019:
Yesterday, Friday 15 February 2019, president Julius Maada Bio received thirty garbage collection trucks donated by China, to assist the government’s and local councils’ efforts to keep their towns and cities clean.
The president received the trucks on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone at an event held at State House.
Expressing his gratitude to the People’s Republic of China, president Bio said the valuable strategic partnership between the two countries, will continue to reinforce their strong friendship. The intervention by the Chinese government he said, will help his government deal with the critical issue of solid waste collection and management, especially in the urban areas.
He said that one of the very first directives of his government was to call on all citizens to use part of the first Saturday of each month to clean their immediate environs. He said they have recognised that the previous government never bothered to put functional and effective waste management systems in place, especially in urban areas.
He also noted that the uncontrolled dumping of garbage in living spaces with no proper arrangement and means of collecting and disposing of garbage, has been associated for years, with increased disease outbreaks and deaths.
President Bio said that the thirty garbage collection trucks will help the government and the people of Sierra Leone implement a sustainable waste collection and management system, so as to reduce the human health and environmental impacts of indiscriminate waste dumping in living spaces.
“In response to my government’s appeal, the government of the People’s Republic of China offered a grant of $1.5 million for garbage collection trucks in order to mitigate the real problem of urban waste management. The garbage collection trucks were bought and shipped to Sierra Leone by the government of the People’s Republic of China. Through a signed MOU, the government of the people’s Republic of China will be responsible for the maintenance of the garbage collection trucks for two years.
“The government of Sierra Leone has taken up responsibility to pay all freight clearance charges for the trucks, spare parts, and all related equipment from the Quay. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Affairs will be responsible for selecting and training drivers and the Ministry has duly informed Local Councils to provide drivers and operators for the training exercise,” he said.
President Bio said that the garbage collection assets will be factored into a wider garbage collection and management policy framework that is being developed by his government, through strong collaborative partnerships with local councils, communities and MDAs that are responsible for health and the environment.
This he said, will help the government achieve its sustainable development goals and improve the quality of life for citizens.
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, WU Peng, said the donation by the Chinese government is not only to support the national cleaning exercise but to also support Sierra Leone’s efforts for a brighter future. He said the trucks will soon appear in Freetown and other areas of the country to work efficiently for the better future of Sierra Leone.
He said that since the pronouncement by President Bio of the national cleaning day, there has been great improvement in the cleanliness of Freetown. He said the Chinese government has made a strong commitment to support Sierra Leone, and recalled that during President Bio’s visit to China last year the two countries agreed to further engage in strategic partnership and cooperation to which China was committed.
“We are good partners and therefore we will give all the support in our capacity to support the New Direction of President Bio. We will continue to promote more Chinese investments in this country. If we can work very closely in an efficient way, there are some big projects in China that can be delivered to Sierra Leone this year,” he assured.
Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, thanked President Bio for introducing the monthly cleaning exercise and for creating the infrastructure which she emphasised has helped to improve the sanitary situation in Freetown.
She said that Councils across the country are very excited about the garbage collection trucks, which she said will help ensure that communities across the country are kept clean.
Watch the trucks arriving in Freetown: