Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 March 2021:
Marking this year’s World Water Day on Monday 22nd March 2021, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) has expressed serious concern about the levels of pollution in many of the rivers in Sierra Leone, especially the Taia River.
According to the CCSL, during their fact-finding mission, they conducted assessment of the polluted river from Matotoka and Magburaka (Pampana), Taiama (Taia) and Mattru Jong (Jong) and said they were appalled by the level of pollution they found.
The President of CCSL, Rev. Henry Samuels while addressing the media at an event held to commemorate World Water Day, told journalists that the river used to serve as a source of livelihood (fishing and sand mining) for many, but that it is no longer serving that purpose because of pollution.
“Fish have been infected and soil deteriorated in quality. Women who used to plant vegetables on the riverbank can no longer do so. The river has gone brown in colour and the water level gone low. In addition to being a source of livelihood, it provides recreation for the villagers. They cannot swim on the river now,” he said.
Rev. Samuels told the media that the pollution is believed to have been caused by excessive mining activities in the Tonkolili District around the source of the Pampana River.
He pointed out that as a Church, they believe that this is not what God desires for his people. “To the contrary, God says: “Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand fishing beside the sea… it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. (Ezekiel 47.9 – 12),” he referenced.
Rev. Samuels called on the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Water Resources; the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Mining Agency (NMA) to take urgent action to stop the pollution of the rivers, especially River Taia to save the lives of citizens as the protection of citizens is a right and not a favour.
The theme for this year’s World Water Day celebration is: “valuing water.”
“The value of water cannot be measured in monetary terms. Water indeed is life. This is not merely a slogan, but a reality. Every human being is in need of water for survival. Thus, if people are denied of adequate supply of water, they are denied of life. Water is indispensable for human dignity. Provision of water is not a privilege offered to people, but the right of people.
“The provision of safe and affordable water is a HUMAN RIGHT recognized in International Law, through Human Rights treaties and declarations that our various governments subscribed to. It is therefore incumbent on all governments to see to it that clean, safe, accessible and affordable water is available for personal and domestic uses of the people it governs. For any government to negate that responsibility is to violate the God-given right of God’s people,” the Reverend concluded.
Mining is just one of the many pollutants of not just the rivers but the neighborhoods. They should require the plastic makers or the bottled water companies to expand on the incentive of giving 5 cents for every plastic or water bottle returned. That way, those plastics are effectively recyclyed and PROPERLY INCINERATED instead of making its way into the unkept dustbins and eventually the rivers and pollute the water and the fish which makes it back to HUMAN CONSUMPTION which leads to MANY ALIMENTS. A vicious cycle.
Alao what happens to the Saturday cleaning? But everything should not be left wholly and solely to the national government. Neighbourhoods with the help of their LOCAL LEADERS like Mayors, chiefs, etc, can also help to keep a clean and healthy neighbourhood, and have healthy neighbors and YES INDEED CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS. Thank you COUNCIL OF CHURCHES. God speaks not just in VOLUMES but in DIVERSE WAYS, because He is present EVERYWHERE- OMNIPRESENCE.
Finally someone now believes its time to stick their neck out for what’s right. I have to admit that this was truly a pleasant surprise for me. I was so elated by this inspiring article I didn’t know whether to sing,holler of just start break dancing. (lol) The Council of churches have showed us that they understand the meaning of the timeless phrase “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” But wait just a minute and hear me out – the heartbreaking truth of the matter is that my little Sierra Leone is overcrowded with godless people totally lacking in love for Mother Nature. Someone once said that those who pollute sacred rivers, streams and fertile soil are a disgrace to the human race because it is only man that is guilty of exploiting and destroying the same environment that has been kind and generous to him.
As a little boy, I enjoyed vivid memories of how clean Sierra Leone was – you could walk across Freetown and not encounter a pile of garbage anywhere on the roadside or at the shores of any of our beaches. Today, under a failed government and their lackadaisical self seeking agenda, our tiny country has now become a waste dump where filthiness is a way of life and lack of interest in communal hygiene have become tangible benchmarks of the New Direction government. Show me a ruler with a filthy country where rats and politicians are doing the same things and I will show you a nation heading at the speed of lightning towards its obliteration. All these doctorate degree holders gobbling huge salaries and all their efforts put together count as nothing,
A damn shame is it not to be driving in the latest SUVs hiding behind tinted windows because you are so ashamed to let poor people without ordinary toilets see your incompetent, freeloading cowardly SLPP eyes? Spineless, no doubt spineless without a bone in their bodies to call their own. (lol)
In his essay between the relationship of Church and State, Jonathan Leeman described it like this:”God has given the power of the sword to governments and the power of the keys to churches, and he intends for them to work separately but cooperatively toward the greater end of worship”. As we mark this year’s World Water Day, it is interesting to note the Sierra Leone council of churches have dipped their feet in the water, to express their concerns about the level of pollution in our rivers. It is about time we see the church take an active role to voice their concerns about issues affecting our country.
The Taia river, Pampana and Jong rivers are not isolated incidents. The pollution of our rivers across the country can all be traced to unchecked human activities like, the mining sector, deforestation which causes erosion, and disposal of plastics waste, leaking of sewers, chemicals. Heavy metals from the mining sites left untreated can cause a lot of damage for Bio diversity of the river and ecosystem. People’s livelihoods, like fishing, farming and health are directly affected.
The most common diseases for communities living around these rivers are, diarrhoea, Cholera, dysentery and typhoid. The Bio government, should make it mandatory for mining companies to clean up their acts. We need to tackle the environmental time bomb in Sierra Leone, before its too late. Cleaning up our rivers and regulating deforestation by the timber trade will be a good start.