• November 6, 2023

Failed Transform Freetown Project…

Failed Transform Freetown Project…
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By Alusine Fullah

  • Incessant Noise Pollution
  • Rampant Street Dogs
  • Filthiest City in Africa
  • Rampant Streets Trading

Congratulations Madam, Aki-Sawyer

The people of Freetown have seen one or two developmental projects Freetown. The initiative for the Transform Freetown Project was actually was actually a top-notch. But, how successful this project is? We have heard the Mayor say ABC. But, how true of her sayings about this project? To get it right, Forum Newspaper is currently doing an investigation about the Transform Freetown Project. So relax, as we unfold our findings about the so-called project in our next editions.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyer OBE was sworn in as Mayor of Freetown in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. Launched in January 2019, the 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from waste management and housing, to improving urban planning, tackling environmental degradation and facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.

As a journalist, I have to be honest that since you took over in May 2018 as the Mayor of Freetown, Freetown has been many things: a hub for rampant street trading, a hub for rampant street dogs, a hub for incessant noise pollution, the filthiest city in Africa, to name but a few.

Let us start with the incessant noise pollution especially in official places. According to your by-laws any musical instrument, loudspeaker or other equipment used unnecessarily shall be impounded by FCC council and a fine 250, 000 shall be levied against the defaulter. For years, the law is there, but the council has a lame dog in implementing it.

To be frank, Freetonians are fed up with the rampant/ incessant noise pollution in the city. Noise pollution is killing a lot of people in Freetown. Noise pollution adversely affects the lives of thousands Freetonians.  Studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health.  Problems related to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity.  Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the most common and often discussed health effect, but research has shown that exposure to constant or high levels of noise can cause countless adverse health effects.

Many schools around the city have reached this medium about the negative effects of noise in their schools. Research on the effects of noise pollution have a view that children in schools with high  aircraft noise exposure for instance don’t concentrate in class better as compared to those with limited forms of noise pollution (Evans & Maxwell, 1997). Their research discovered that children often have difficulty acquiring speech recognition skills when background noise is high, interfering with the quantity and quality of information that they receive. However, they noted that students in quiet school scored higher since their learning and teaching experiences by teachers is less interrupted.

According to WHO (2021), millions of young people are likely to suffer from hearing impairment due to these noise pollutants in cities, and that noise exceeding 115 decibels (dB) is unhealthy. The report further indicated that the standard sound limit should be maintained at 85dB during the day and 75dB during the night.

Even though the main reason for street trading is to earn a living, as it stands, it has gotten out of hands especially in the central business district. Apart from interrupting human and vehicular traffic, street trading also leaves the streets of Freetown littered with plastic bags, wrappers and other forms of wastes. This makes our streets very dirty, untidy and unsightly.

Honestly, you have gallant metropolitan personnel, but 98% of them have poor delivery system. They are all over the places collecting money from traders. Is that the new law for FCC?

Street dogs are the order of the day. Working along the streets of Freetown, even a blind man/ woman can feel the presence of stray dogs. Current estimates put the population of stray dogs in Freetown to be approximately 100,000. A recent survey by CPI of Freetown residents showed that, while many people feel compassion for the stray dogs and provide food for them, they also find them a nuisance because of noise and mess.

Furthermore, the potential for rabies transmission is a very real risk. Rabies is endemic in Sierra Leone and dog bites are common, especially with children. For this reason, dogs that look unwell are often driven away or killed in inhumane ways. Sadly, common skin problems such as mange, which can be easily-treatable, are often confused for being a sign of rabies, which means that dogs with poor skin are in particular danger of abuse or abandonment.

Abandoned dogs may negatively affect people’s lives in a number of ways and can pose risks to human health (e.g. dog bites, transmitting zoonosis.

Look how beautiful your by-laws on street dogs are:

 

All dogs should be registered with the council

All dogs should be confined to a kennel or kept on a leash

All dogs must be vaccinated against rabies

No dog shall be allowed to be at large in the street, public space without an owner

All persons should obtain permits from council in order to use any animal for commercial purposes

Council may impound any unregistered dog or other animal found in any public place within the city of Freetown

Council shall immediately make public of impounding of any unregistered dog or other animal at the council’s premises

Council may sell or humanly destroy an unregistered dog or other animal after 24 hours

The owner of an impounded dog or other animal shall pay a fine and custody fee to claim the dog or other animal

No person shall attempt to free any impounded dog or other animal

 

No premise shall be kept unhealthy

No animal or bird shall be kept in any unhealthy place

No premise or neighbourhood shall be used to accumulate waste

No company, trade or business shall cause an unhealthy stench or produce harmful dust to inhabitants in any neighbourhood in Freetown City

No pool, ditch, gutter, waterways, cistern, sanitary convenience, cesspool, drain shall be left unhealthy in any neighbour

Any collection of water or water vessel that contains eggs or larvae of mosquitoes shall not be found in any premise

No chimney emitting black smoke, at a particular quantity, shall not be allowed among inhabitants

All dwelling house without a toilet, bathroom or kitchen is prohibited

Any display of banners or billboards for advertising without permission from council is prohibited

No private owned building visible in public places shall be left in a state of disrepair

Any unnecessary honking of vehicle horns is prohibited

Council shall seize any illegal erection of banners and 100,000 Leones paid per billboard and 25,000 paid per banner

Any musical instrument, loudspeaker or other equipment used unnecessarily shall be impounded by council and fine of 250,000 paid

Any person who contravenes any of these provisions commits an offence and shall be liable to pay a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand Leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months

 

 

 

 

  • No person should throw garbage in any street, public place or illegal dumpsites
  • No person in charge of a vehicle shall throw garbage into any street, public place
  • No person should urinate or defecate in any street, public place or unauthorized place
  • No person should deposit garbage in any street, public place or illegal place without approval from Council
  • No one should use any street, public place or illegal place to store building materials
  • No person should use any street, public place or illegal place to sell or stock bush sticks
  • No person should use any street, public place or illegal place as a garage for the repair of motor vehicles or for the parking of abandoned vehicles
  • No person should use any street, public place or illegal place as a welding shop
  • No person should use any street, public place or illegal place to wash cars
  • No person use any street, public place or illegal place to launder clothes
  • Any vehicle, equipment or building materials deposited on any street, public place or unauthorized place may be forfeited to council

Any person who contravenes any of these provisions commits an offence and shall be liable to pay a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand Leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months

More details about FCC in our next editions

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