EU Delegation To Sierra Leone
Observed The Global Beach Clean-Up Event With SCCA & SLeCCSuD
The European Union (EU) Delegation to Sierra Leone is one of the country’s key development partners that assist with interventions that mostly addresses national to global environmental challenges where necessary also partnering with Local Non-Governmental Originations (NGOs) to showcase some of EU policy in addressing certain issues especially the modus operandi of some environmental challenges especially with respect to Marine Plastic Pollution.
Due to the slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in the seas, oceans and beaches worldwide where research has found out the existence of plastic residues in marine species such as turtles, whales, birds as well as fish and other marine creatures thereby entering the human food chain. There is therefore need to control plastic pollution alongside its economic and convenient uses especially the single used plastic products.
In Sierra Leone Plastic Pollution is one of the main causes (especially the city of Freetown) of flooding as they easily block the drainage systems, and due to its mountainous topography, they eventually end in the city’s ocean and beaches.
This year’s exercise undertaken by the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone was in collaboration with two umbrella non-governmental organisations;
1. South Climate Change Africa (SCCA) and
2. Sierra Leone Consortium for Climate Change and Sustainable Development
where these organisations were jointly financially capacitated by the EU for the necessary planning of the event, mobilisation of key players and provision on necessary resources/materials together with their massive public awareness, participation and community ownership that made the exercise a huge success.
AGENDA OF THE EVENT AND STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Agenda of the event was “EU Global Beach Clean-up Event to Beat Marine Plastic Pollution” which show cased the EU Commitment in ensuring that the global beaches and the marine life are free from plastic residues.
On Saturday 15th September 2018, the European Union Mission in Sierra Leone observed the EU GLOBAL BEACH CLEAN-UP EVENT.
After a well advertised and public awareness raising by the combined corroborative team of SCCA and SLeCCSuD on both the Radio and Television, the event that used the Lumley/Aberdeen Beach axis finally come on Saturday, 15th September, 2018.
The Atlantic Hotel that is almost at the centre of the targeted beach was the starting point. Attached is the way the exercise was done by the grouping that the paper highlighted.
Some key personalities/institutions present at the exercise were:
· AMBASSADOR TOM VENS– the Head of the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone
· AMBASSADOR GUY WARRINGTON – the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone
· HER WORSHIP, YVONNE AKI SAWYER– the Mayor of the Freetown City Council
· DR. DENNIS SANDY– the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment
· DR. MEMUNATU PRATT– the Minister of Tourism and Culture
· Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry representative
· Environment Protection Agency (EPA)- Sierra Leone Representative
· EU Delegation Team
· SCCA & SLeCCSuD Team
· SCCA National Student Representation
· World Bank representative
· UNDP representative
· Tourist Board
· Rokel Commercial Bank-Sierra Leone Ltd. representatives
· United Bank for Africa- Sierra Leone Ltd. representatives
· The Red Cross Society of Sierra Leone; among many more including community people and school children
Before the commencement of the cleaning, short statements were made by the EU Head of Delegation, the British High Commissioner, Her Worship the Mayor of Freetown, the Government Ministers and others on the importance of controlling plastic pollution especially the singled-used-plastic products. It was stated by the EU head of Delegation that the day’s exercise was a wakeup call that was geared towards building the awareness and consciousness of plastics users on the need for its safe disposal that will prevent its ending in our ocean and beaches.
At the close of the cleaning exercise, participants again gathered at the opening sport and fresh rounds of brief speeches were made where the novelty of the exercise was highlighted by the various speakers as can be seen in the accompanying video coverage of the event.
Participants were entreated to well prepare refreshment at the prestigious Atlantic Lumley Hotel.
The event was planned for two hundred participants, but it ended attracting two hundred and fifty-one.
On the whole, it could be reported that the programme was a huge success; as it captured relevant personalities from all walks of life that could influence decision makings in the country. Equally, based on their participations, there is the firm conviction that they and others are gradually gaining consciousness about the problems of marine plastics pollution and eventually our beaches.
They are also ready to tackle problems relating to climate change issues not only affecting Sierra Leone but joining hands with the world at large. The Presence of such high-level Government officials affirms the commitment of the Government in tackling this global challenge. The Tourism Minister affirmed this by informing the gathering that they will be going to Bonthe Island to embarks on similar cleaning to which she invited all present.
On the whole, the outcome of the exercise was worth its expectation and SCCA and SLeCCSuD very grateful that the EU considered them to collaboratively undertake one of their core mandate in addressing environmental sanity and sustainability.
Finnex John Asibor
Shout Climate Change Africa (SCCA)