Global Partnership on Waste Management

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Sierra Leone

Submitted by Environment Officer, Sierra Leone Government

(Note: The Environment Officer did not prioritize waste streams)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Social
2. Financial
3. Technical and scientific
Narrative summary
Sierra Leone (Environment Officer)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that building awareness for waste management among all stakeholders is a priority. Public understanding of both the hazards of mismanaged waste and the processes of waste management is poor. Thus there is little interest in waste management activities; in particular, limited funds are made available for the purchase of equipment appropriate for the treatment of different waste streams. The responses therefore suggest that creating an awareness of waste issues in the country is a priority, and a prerequisite to building capacity for waste management.

Industrial waste
In Sierra Leone, capacity-building regarding industrial waste management is most needed in the areas of policy implementation and technology. While industrial waste management regulations exist, there are few mechanisms to monitor implementation. Ministries need to be better coordinated. Their respective responsibilities and mandates should be made clearer so that monitoring and implementation activities can be effective. The participation of local communities in industrial waste management would make a positive impact, if public awareness campaigns were to be successfully implemented. The country also lacks the technical capacity to manage industrial waste. Environmental institutions possess a very limited amount of equipment, and lack the funds to procure more. Thus the technical and financial capacities of the country require strengthening, alongside a better system of policy enforcement.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
For Sierra Leone, improvements in MSW management can be made especially in the areas of technical capacity and social awareness. While MSW management policies exist, the country does not have the technical capacity to implement them. Improvements, such as the purchase of equipment, will require a source of funding. The relevant governmental institutions also do not adequately coordinate MSW management activities. Moreover, there is poor social awareness of MSW management issues. Waste segregation at source is not undertaken, and public environmental campaigns are needed in order to support existing MSW management policies in the country.

Hazardous waste
According to the responses, industrial waste management policies address the specific issues of hazardous waste in Sierra Leone. Nevertheless, technical capacity and social awareness again need to be developed. Community involvement would be greatly beneficial to the monitoring and identification of hazardous waste; this will depend on the successful implementation of public awareness campaigns. Technical capacity will need to be developed, as there is not enough equipment for the treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes. Very limited funds are available for the purchase of equipment.

Organic waste
With regards to organic waste management, capacity-building is essential primarily within society. The use of organic waste as a resource, such as composting, is not common practice among the public. Societal awareness of the possibilities of organic waste management will be beneficial to the country. However, other areas will also require strengthening. Equipment for the composting of organic waste exists, but is inadequate. Funds for the expansion of technical capacity are lacking. Furthermore, there are currently no policies or regulations addressing organic waste management in the country. A clear framework regarding organic waste would be useful in encouraging its use as a resource.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Above all, the participation of the agricultural sector in the management of WAB is desired. Better communication is needed in order to access local farmers unaware of the potential for WAB to be used as a resource. While governmental authorities responsible for the agricultural sector exist, there are currently no policies addressing WAB, thus authorities are not concerned with waste management. Finally, the country is in need of funds and equipment in order to improve its technical capacity in managing WAB.

Healthcare waste
With regards to healthcare waste in Sierra Leone, waste generator awareness is ranked as a high priority area for capacity-building. The health and environmental effects of mismanaged waste are not understood by the public and by healthcare staff. Low awareness is compounded by the lack of enforcement capacity of existent healthcare waste legislation, due to insufficient monitoring by responsible ministries. Finally, the country lacks equipment for healthcare waste management, and funds to procure them will be necessary.

Policy enactment and social needs are ranked as the most important areas for capacity-building in Sierra Leone. Currently, no policies for e-waste management exist, and there is little awareness across all levels of society of the concepts of e-waste management. In addition, institutional coordination needs to be strengthened to effectively implement efforts on policymaking and public education. Funds and technology also need to be made available to the country if it is to be able to treat and dispose of e-waste.

Waste plastics
Policy enactment and social needs are again ranked as the most important areas for capacity-building in Sierra Leone. There are no policies on the management of waste plastics, while public awareness and participation in waste prevention or minimization is low. In addition, there is also a need for funds in order to purchase equipment for the treatment, recycling and disposal of waste plastics.