HomeWestern Area EnvironmentWard-Level Capital ImprovementsCivil Infrastructure PlansCity's AEC Growth PlansFAQsContact Us

Solid Waste Management Study. Background. 
Dave Sood  (2013)

Solid waste management in Freetown poses costly and vexing problems. Included are low service coverage—averaging 40%, insufficient budgets, highly inadequate equipment, substantial inefficiencies such as high costs, low quality service, low labor productivity, poor public attitudes, and widespread illegal dumping. In addition, the long domestic insurgency heavily damaged or destroyed the existing infrastructure, and also, significantly contributed to the more than two-fold increase in population from estimated 850,000 in 1994 to the current estimates of 1.85M. In terms of waste management, there is a positive correlation between city’s population size and both the percentage of waste removed and the rate of households enjoying regular waste collection. The increased population combined with the domestic insurgency, political strife, and accompanying economic crises had a profound impact on waste generation, straining the existing skeletal solid waste management (SWM) system. 
Coupled with changing waste management authorities, the Freetown’s solid waste management situation is on the verge of collapse. The large percentage of uncollected or illegally dumped waste in Freetown constitutes a disaster for human health and is also a cause of the environmental degradation. According to the local health authorities, the increased prevalence of parasites, tetanus, malaria, hookworm, cholera, and diarrhea in and around the city is mostly attributed to strewn wastes in the city. 
The management of Freetown’s waste is a history of institutional trials and abandonment, with most issues remaining unsolved. The newest authority, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) was assigned the responsibility for in May 2003. The assignment came as a result of the failure of previous authorities—the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Freetown City Council, and the private sector to effectively manage Freetown’s solid wastes. Unfortunately, the MoYS is also struggling with tight budgets, lack of qualified manpower, and no institutional authority and experience in waste management. 
 It is estimated that over 742 tons/day of garbage is generated in the metro Freetown area.  Of this, over 84% is biodegradable organic waste, mostly from residential and vegetable markets. In addition, the limited Freetown industry contributes approximately 20 tons/day of wastes. Industrial wastes consist of mostly broken bottles (primarily from local brewery), waste cans, rags and plastic and small quantities of hazardous wastes. These wastes are usually unbagged and disposed by the industry at each of the landfills, at no cost.

National Policy Roadmap on Integrated Waste Management
Keep Sierra Leone Clean, Play your Role for Change
Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS)
March 2015 – Final
Policy 1: Waste Management Plans shall be developed by all Local Councils • Waste Management Plans shall be developed and updated by Local Councils through multistakeholder consultation. MoHS will pursue making the preparation and update of Waste Management Plans a legal requirement and ensure the National Wastes Management Working Group (NWMWG) oversees the process. • The NWMWG shall develop key sector performance indicators that each local council will require to incorporate into their local waste management plans to enable clear benchmarking of waste management performance over time and between locations throughout the country. • Plans shall incorporate all policies within this document and incorporate experiences gained from initiatives and stakeholders including: Public Health Aides operating under the Expanded Sanitary Inspection and Compliance (ESICOME) programme, Bo City waste management programme, Makeni Waste to Wealth programme, the Freetown Faecal Sludge Program, etc.
Policy 2: The roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders shall be clearly defined.  • Roles and responsibilities shall be clearly defined and agreed upon within local waste management plans (see section 3.3 and Annex 1). • Stakeholders shall know, respect and fulfil their function, roles and responsibilities with regard to the entire waste management chain for different waste streams. • A National Wastes Management Working Group, led by MoHS and the EPA will be set up to issue directives clarifying roles and responsibilities. The need to establish a national waste management unit - an independent interdisciplinary governing body responsible for planning and management of waste and resource management affairs throughout the country and implementing bodies - will subsequently be evaluated. • Consideration shall be given to assigning community/neighbourhood organisations a formal role in monitoring the delivery of local services acting in collaboration with Public Health Aides in undertaking sanitary inspection and compliance activities under the ESICOME programme..  • Informal waste pickers shall be recognised as recyclers and as such integral service providers in the waste management chain rather than outcasts. To this end these groups will be supported (both financial and training) to join forces with the local authorities.  • Enhancing effective and proper sector coordination between all stakeholders and projects in general will improve the sector throughout the country.
Policy 3: An integrated planning and management approach for all waste streams shall be adopted along with a regional approach to treatment and disposal.   • MoHS and EPA working group shall establish and maintain a national program for providing planning, technical and financial assistance to local governments for all waste streams. • Where practical, local councils shall work with neighbouring councils to develop plans and utilise shared facilities for the management of all their waste streams.
Policy 4: Educational and skills transfer programmes shall be developed and continuously implement and updated.  • A national curriculum for continuous professional training and development shall be developed and established by the MoHS / EPA sector working group, to include inter-council exchange 
National Policy Roadmap on Integrated Waste Management    visits and networking. This is to include refresher training, to be organized by MOH’s, for Health staff and Public Health Aides  • Experiences in the implementation of locally appropriate waste management solutions shall be transferred from project sites to stakeholders nationally via the MoHS /EPA sector working group through Technical Vocational Education and Training. Successful initiatives – such as the Waste to Wealth work by the Living Earth Foundation in Makeni building capacity of social enterprises and community based organisations and similar experiences from WHH in Bo - will guide design of future curriculum and development-partner interventions. • MoHS (in collaboration with EPA and MLGRD) will promote a training and development strategy focused on creating a motivated workforce, skilled and competent in their assigned functions. • Staff members in Health Care institutions shall be trained in identifying and separating out Hazardous Health Care Waste (HHCW), and safe handling and management. Health care institutions shall ensure the resources are available to treat HHCW in accordance with best practices, ensuring that this material does not enter the municipal solid waste stream where it poses a serious health risk to the general populace. 
Policy 5: The polluter pays principle shall be applied to the management of all waste streams to ensure cost recovery • Emphasis must be placed on ensuring that those responsible for the generation of wastes pay the costs associated with its environmentally acceptable handling and management. • Implementing a pay as you throw (PAYT) direct house-to-house fee applied and collected by the waste management operator shall be evaluated and implemented where appropriate. • Public Health aides should be empowered through the ESICOME programme to provide inspection and compliance enforcement of the polluter pays principle where implemented.  • Measures to recover the material value in the waste streams, through re-use, recycling and recovery shall be pursued where economically viable. • Ensuring enforcement by sanitary court is in operation for all defaulters after the issuing of abatement notice/court order
Policy 6: Only technologies appropriate to the local conditions shall be employed. • All stakeholders shall pursue the application of technologies that are suitable - from an affordability, applicability and sustainability perspective - in all aspects of the waste management chain. Modernisation does not necessarily require full mechanisation of the waste management system.  • All aspects of the waste management chain must be capable of being procured and fully and sustainably operationally financed by sustainable revenues. Optimise the use of locally available resources and established practices first. • Upgrade (and manage) a select number of existing dump sites to be controlled landfills first, to create a positive core waste management system foundation, prior to pursuing new sites and new treatment technology alternatives • Proven toilet systems that minimise or avoid liquid waste discharge by providing an alternative to “conventional” flush toilet sewage / conservancy tank systems shall be pursued. This may include composting and waterless toilets that assist negate the need for sewer infrastructure.
Policy 7: An enabling environment for private sector participation in service provision shall be established and sustained.   x Local Councils shall enhance waste management planning, education, enforcement and cost
National Policy Roadmap on Integrated Waste Management    recovery mechanisms – the combination of which shall represent an enabling framework for private sector participation.  x Local Councils shall be strengthened in their essential “client role” (see Annex 1, “Client Function”). This shall include their ability to understand and deliver upon: a. Establishing clear local standards and guidelines (comprising performance indicators) for the appropriate management of all aspects of the waste chain for all waste streams  b. Development of local bye-laws to enable meaningful enforcement and monitoring (i.e. through the ESICOME programme) to address littering; illegal dumping, burning etc – providing the means to punish offenders and poor operators whilst empowering/rewarding good operators and practices; c. Issuance of contracts (including micro-contracts and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU)) and/or franchises (including legal guarantees) in an open and transparent bid process with defined re-tendering intervals; d. Ensuring performance based contracts are issued and ensure efficient and effective monitoring of contractor/franchisee performance against established performance indicators to ensure compliance – and to take appropriate corrective measures where necessary (through empowering Public Health Aides to assist monitor and enforce contractor performance through the ESICOME programme). e. Designing and implementing appropriate educational/awareness programmes using all appropriate mediums (radio, TV, printed press, street theatre etc) with a focus on schools. f. Enabling Private Sector Participation (potentially to include responsibilities for planning/zoning, licencing, service performance guarantees etc.)  g. Establishing and enhancing basic cost recovery mechanisms and options including pursuing clear tariff policies including rights to delegate collection of tariffs  h. Work with local banking and financing institutions to assist the private sector access and secure (with guarantees) micro-financing/banking loans to build their business. x Regulations shall define specific standards – include strengthening the application and issuance process of permits and licenses by the EPA; x Basic minimum waste management service standards shall be established by MoHS and EPA for all aspects of the waste management chain.
Policy 8: The Waste Management Hierarchy shall be applied to the management of all waste streams. • Solutions to safely and responsibly manage their waste appropriately shall be created, available and communicated to all waste generators.  • The 5Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Residual Waste Management) principle will guide planning by all stakeholders for all waste streams. • Landfill is an essential pillar in any integrated waste management system and controlled landfill sites shall be in place in all local waste management systems. Establishing fully operational and enforcing the use of controlled landfills (improved and authorised dumpsites) within logistical/economic distance of all major waste generating centres will be prioritised. • Efforts to recover the value associated with waste resources, moving practices up the waste hierarchy, shall be investigated and pursued where economically viable. • The valuable role of the “informal sector” within recycling activities is recognised. • Priority is given to health and safety of all workers involved in the handling of materials.

JOIN Freetown Learning Path Initiative, powered by Sakai, to learn from background work in this area, digitized information and participate with others to acheive this project's objectives. CLICK HERE TO JOIN

Enter content here

Enter supporting content here