New waste treatment facility pioneers Sierra Leone’s sustainability efforts

The Freetown City Council (FCC), together with global partners, has achieved a milestone in sustainable waste management by initiating the city’s first waste treatment plant in Kingtom, established in 2021. This initiative is a critical component of the Transform Freetown Sanitation strategy, targeting the safe processing and disposal of more than 60% of the city’s solid and liquid waste.

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr elaborated on the project’s advancements, stating, “The plant processes material from an average of 312 vacuum trucks each month, effectively separating solid waste from liquid effluent.” She proudly noted the facility’s success in transforming waste into valuable commodities. This includes converting solid waste into compost for fertilizers, showcased in an onsite garden, and manufacturing briquettes as a cleaner substitute for conventional wood or wood charcoal in cooking.

A notable innovation introduced by the plant is the production of biogas from a biodigester bag, utilized for fueling cooking stoves. This addresses the crucial need for alternative cooking fuels in a city where wood or wood charcoal constitutes 82% of cooking fuel usage.

Supported further by the Bosch Foundation and UNCDF, with technical guidance from GOAL, the project demonstrated its milestones in a high-profile event attended by national and international dignitaries, including the Minister of Western Area, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, and emissaries from various countries and organizations. The event served not just as a showcase of the facility’s capacity but also as a forum for FCC to solicit additional support for expanding the production of fertilizers, briquettes, and biogas, and to propose the construction of another treatment facility in the eastern part of Freetown.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr reflected on the transformative journey from the hazardous disposal practices of the past to the present state of generating valuable products from waste. She underscored the facility’s significant co-benefits, such as job creation, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospects of further enhancements and expansions in the near future.

Source: The Sierra Leone Telegraph

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