The practice of dumping everywhere in Kissy Town, in the Western Area Rural District (WARDC), has cause fear and panic among residents of a looming outbreak of cholera and malaria. Thus residents have urged the WARDC to provide them with a dumpsite as a matter of urgency.
In an interview with Concord Times last Saturday at Kissy Town, Yeabu Bangura, a resident of the community, said people are in the habit of throwing waste materials everywhere in the community because of the unavailability of a dumpsite, adding flies and mosquitoes could be seen everywhere within the community as a result of heaps of waste scattered around and about.
"Lactating mothers, after taking-off used pampers from their babies throw them within the neighbourhood. The entire community is filthy and the authorities should act now, and if nothing is done immediately there is a fear of an imminent outbreak of cholera and malaria in this community," she said.
She noted that things that were identified as causes of the outbreak of cholera few years ago in Sierra Leone were yet to be addressed by the authorities, citing poor sanitation, unsafe environment, and unsafe drinking water facility, among others.
Another resident, Brima Thorley, reiterated that the community was indeed filthy and called on the Waterloo Council to take immediate action and prevent a major health epidemic.
He said heaps of garbage strewn all over the community was breeding ground for mosquitoes, which pose a potential health risk, including contracting malaria and other diseases.
"The situation is even worst during the rains and now that we are in the rainy season, our fear is that of a foreseen outbreak of diseases like cholera and malaria if no dumpsite is provided for us here," he added.
In response to the call, Chief Administrator of WARDC, Ahmed Shekuba Koroma said council recently summoned councilors and village heads within the rural district to a meeting on how they should manage wastes in their various communities.
"In that meeting with the village heads and councilors, we reached at a decision that every village head should provide a piece of land for dumping of wastes within their localities. This is an area that the council receives the lowest amount of allocation and the only vehicle that we were using to collect people's wastes is currently not operational," he said.
He said the rural council was aware of the problem of waste management in the district and that the authorities were doing everything humanly possible to address the problem.
The WARDC CA said he has the support of his chairman and councilors to address the problem of waste management and that village heads are also cooperating with him in that regard.
He disclosed that some well-meaning Sierra Leoneans have expressed interests in managing wastes within the district, noting that if council and the individual he didn't name have an agreement, solid waste mismanagement would soon be a thing of the past in the rural district.
In February 2012, a devastating cholera outbreak hit Sierra Leone, and by 24 September a total number of 392 people had died of the disease. It is still the largest outbreak of cholera in Sierra Leone since the disease was first reported in 1970. A second outbreak of cholera occurred in August 2013, with 368 cases reported.
The causes of cholera are primarily the consumption of water or food contaminated by feces of an infected person, poor hygiene practices, unsafe water sources and ineffective waste management. Experts say it is often triggered by heavy rains or floods.
By Joseph S. Margai