• September 4, 2023

MACCEM, ROCKCEM Wages Environmental War on Communities

MACCEM, ROCKCEM Wages Environmental War on Communities
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By Donstance Koroma

The FORUMNEWS-SL attention has been drawn to the glaring environmental and health damages certain cement factories in the East End of Freetown continues to unleash on inhabitants, pedestrians and passengers on board commercial transportation in the eyes of authorities concerned. Such exemptions being enjoyed by Mackie and ROCKCEM, Portland cement factories have been described by residents of Jennet Wright Road, Ferry Junction, part of Blackhall Road Up-Gun Roundabout and Cline Town, as devastating to many in the above mentioned communities. Environmental pollutions from the operations of these factories pose greater possibility of them developing if not already developed lungs and heart failure.

For considerable years own, those communities have suffered both noise and chemical pollution from the clinker dust and noise of the industries machineries with no medical considerations for those inhabitants.

Community stakeholders that spoke to the FORUMNEWS-SL have raised eyebrows over the effects of the clinker dust and the constant noise from both factories’ machines and their effects on the health of present and future generations of the communities of operations.

Many of us living here are not healthy, year in and out, part of the oxygen we inhale is contaminated with the chemical composition of the clinker dust, Amadu Bangura at Bomeh told FORUMNEWS-SL.

Regardless of the physically imposing presence of both cement factories, communities within and around lack many basic amenities like access to pipe burn water, proper drainages and toilet facilities, making those communities breeding ground for malaria and other communicable diseases.

The situation becomes extremely complex when traders of the Peace Market, Ferry Junction complained about the effect of the clinker dust by both cement factories on them as traders, customers and their food stuffs.

Fatu Conteh, a vegetable trader at the Peace Market, Ferry Junction told FORUMNEWS-SL that they continue to suffer in silence from suffocations from the clinker dust and constant noise pollutions from the operations of these factories. Many of us that had spent considerable years in this market have start detecting some form of hearts and lungs symptoms, she added.

The above mentioned communities, FORUMNEWS-SL was informed is also grappling with huge amount of youth dropped out that has direct link with these factories operating at the Ferry Junction and Jennet Wright Road community.

As a result of the daily wages paid to causal workers of both the Mackie and ROCKCEM cement factories have given rise in teenage prostitution and drastic increase in teenage pregnancy.

By the look of things, the First Lady, Fatima Bio ‘Hands off Our Girls’ that had and continues to attract huge donor financial and technical support is far from being felt in those communities.

FORUMNEWS-SL investigations further revealed that Saint Theresa Primary School, Boniface Preparatory  and Government Municipal Junior and Senior Secondary Schools are the three learning institutions that are currently bearing the blunts from the clinker dust and noise pollution from ROCKCEM and MACCEM factories.

According to a senior teacher, St Theresa Primary School, Bai Bureh Road, who preferred not to be named, said most times when either Mackie or ROCKCEM are offloading their clinkers/lime stones dust swallow up classrooms that face the streets, posing serious health hazards to pupils, teachers and the entire communities.

Regardless of the amount of complains from schools authority to the Ministry of Basic and Senior School Education all ended up beating a dead horse.

The Door Christian Fellowship Church at Ferry Junction, by its structural location fortunately or unfortunately finds itself at the centre of both the clinker dust and noise pollution.

For Christian congregation, they are victim of circumstance, as clinker dust and the roaring voices of labourers always offloading the clinker or lime stone most times disturbed their weekly, Sunday and other regular services.

“We are not complaining but however, it really discouraging and heart rendering to find ourselves in such risky health conditions for considerable years just in the name of investment, Juliet Sandy, a woshipper nodded her head in total disgust.

Communities mentioned above seem surrounded by many looming health threats. Despite the current health threats posed by both cement factories, communities continue to sandwich by one of Freetown main dump site, Bormeh.

The Bormeh dump site situated in the East End of Freetown, appears to look like a pandemic in its self, yet, many had and continues to make a living from the infamous Bormeh dumping site.

Many Sierra Leoneans are making a comfortable living from rubbishes deposited into the dump site.

Plastic sachets collectors are constantly present at Bormeh in a rush to pick plastics, rubbers or metallic substances for sale to rubber and plastics industries while the metals to scrap metal dealers for a possible export.

Majority of those plastic collectors carry out the collection in the dumpsite bared hands without protective boots or face masks.

Because many youth engage in plastic collection, drug abuse is high among the future and present generation engage in such business, a situation that is currently causing untold deaths of kush addicts.

With homelessness also form part of the problem that the capital continues to battle with since the end of war to date many homeless or streets youth have device housing facilities at the Bormeh dump site.

Youth have taken upon themselves to drill through the pile of garbage, support it with raw sticks and plastics for dwelling purposes. Bormeh is certainly the abode of dozens of youth around the aforementioned communities.

Such makeshift structures inside the dumping site are among the newly establish ghettoes where the killer drug Kush is busy transporting the young generation to their early grave in an untimely manner.

FORUMNEWS-SL was reliably informed that there is handful of youth that the killer drug Kush has left rotten and stinky alive.

Many of them are constantly in tears asking God to take their own live due to the untold suffering they are going through, a tricycle rider on waste collection scheme hinted FORUMNEWS-SL. In an effort to reach both companies for their comments on the issues proved futile up to press time last weekend.

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