Deforestation is a serious threat to water supply in Sierra Leone – says environment minister

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 February 2020:

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Environment – Professor Foday Moriba Jaward, held discussions with key heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at his Old Railway Line Office in Freetown last week, to address long standing challenges facing water catchment areas in the country, particularly in the Western Area which has a population of about 2 million people.

Largescale cutting down of trees, construction of buildings and other environmentally unsustainable practices, in and around the capital city’s water catchment area – according to experts, accounts for some of the main reasons why Freetown is plagued with water shortages – particularly during the dry season, heads of MDAs were told.

The discussions were held at the request of Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, with the aim of heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies working together to formulate a plan of action to protect water catchment areas in the country that are under threat.

Addressing heads of MDAs, minister Jaward spoke of the need to work together to save the people of Sierra Leone from further environmental disasters, adding that deforestation, encroachment on wetlands, climate change and other factors are posing significant threats to the protection of water catchment areas, thereby causing serious water shortages in the country.

He further stated that it is as a result of the forgoing reasons that the government has given a directive for the setting up of an inter-ministerial team to come up with a well-defined sustainable strategy, that would help to ameliorate the suffering caused by water shortages.

In response to this emergency, three sub-committees have been set up and assigned with tasks. Sub-committee 1 will identify water catchment areas within the Western Area for policing, while sub-committees 2 and 3 will conduct community engagement and public relations respectively.

All committees have carried out preliminary tasks and have reported back to the general committee on their findings. The report of sub-committee 1 in particular presented a grim picture of the level of encroachment and deforestation that has taken place over the years. It found that human activity is a key factor causing environmental degradation in and around water catchment areas.

Sub-committees 2 and 3 have also begun the process of community mobilization, sensitization and awareness raising – particularly in communities that are within the water catchment areas.

The committee’s report is being prepared and would subsequently be presented to the Vice President, detailing a number of recommendations as to the necessary measures that are to be taken.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Water Resources, the Deputy Minister of Environment, the Managing Director of Guma Valley Water Company, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, the Director of Environmental Protection Agency.

But notable by his absence was the Minister of Lands – Dennis Sandy, whose ministerial brief under the previous APC government and the current government is to oversee building construction activities in the country, especially in protected State lands.

Critic say that minister Sandy must be held accountable for the massive deforestation that has and continues to take place in Freetown under his watch, during the past ten years.

2 Comments

  1. It’s safe to conclude that, current and past government decisions, which encourages the cannibalization of the once serene, enviable forests occupying the mountainous terrain of Freetown, for the construction of massive mansions, are mainly the cause of our current environmental predicaments. Our country can be sadly describe as a place where the rule of law or observation of established regulations exists only in principle.

    Most politically connected people and those who influence local officials via their wealth are basically above the laws. These crop of unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans can pretty much do anything they want without any questions asked by the authorities. It’s really pathetic to say the least.

  2. Here’s my humble suggestion,folks;On a very bad day,after you have done all that is humanly possible to brighten the long,boring tedious hours,and nothing seems to work,all you have to do is come to the Sierra Leone Telegraph,and take a few glimpses at the clownish tendencies and inadequacies of the SLPP government, and you will instantly be transformed into a ceaselessly vibrating, laughing machine.(lol)

    These people can’t be serious! They are forming Inter ministerial teams,committees,subcommittees to tackle itsy bitsy problems even poorly educated secondary school students can easily,readily, solve (lol) What a total,reckless,irresponsible waste of meagre government revenues. I mean seriously,how many people would you actually need to create a sustainable strategy for solving the problems of water shortages in Freetown?

    Here’s your answer – Just three highly inspired,levelheaded people will be quite enough;there’s no need at all to create unnecessary groups,and committees that will be gobbling, crunching,wasting,and draining government revenues,that are slowly trickling into our nations coffers. Professor Moriba should be reminded that they have been in power for two years,yet they are still talking, lamenting,and brooding over the harmful effects of deforestation on our environment.

    Talk is cheap Professor,it is decisive action that is priceless and of great value…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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