Environment Protection Agency Inspects Facilities of Africell’s Mobile Company in Kailahun District

As a responsible Government Agency working hard to ensure that the environment of Sierra Leone is effectively protected for human, plants and animal habitation, the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone has carried out monitoring exercise on Africell facilities in three Chiefdoms in Kailahun District in the Eastern Province. This monitoring is part of routine activities undertaken by the Agency to ensure that proponent adhere to guidelines as stated in the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). It is a standard procedure as per the Environmental Impact Assessment License for the Agency to undertake regular follow up visits to ensure these facilities are managed in accordance with the established environmental best practice. The monitoring exercise targeted three Africell facilities in Pendembu in the Upper Bambara Chiefdom, Daru in the Jawei Chiefdom and Nianahun in the Njaluahun Chiefdom. The monitoring was done based on the environmental footprint of Africell focusing on the level of air quality in the facility,noise pollution, waste management, emission, health and safety of staff amongst others. This inspection was conducted by a team of EPASL Staff from the Bo Regional Office and Africell Consultant and Engineers. In all the stations visited, no significant issue of environmental consequence was observed; Decibel readings from Noise meter were good, which means that it was at acceptable international standard. This was very important since these stations are situated in nearby residential areas, it was imperative for EPASL to assess how much impact this will have on those resident in the area. Also Emission Tester was used to measure the amount of emission which shows good. This was largely due to the fact that the generators are fairly new and regular maintenance is done every two hundred and fifty (250 hrs.) hours. It was observed that waste was properly managed as there was no evidence of waste during the time of visit. Also the storage of fuel was very conducive as it is bonded with hydro carbon trap to control spillage. However, they were advised to remove the old fuel tank that was no longer in use from the station in Pendembu, display safety signs like “no smoking” in all three stations, display relevant environmental management plan policies, display Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) License and in the near future to transition to renewable energy which are more cleaner, sustainable and environmentally friendly. This is very significant as the motive of the monitoring team was not only to identify fault but to also provide professional advice to Africell with the view to helping them improve on their environmental footprint thereby mitigating climate change impact. Moreover, EPASL appreciates strides being put in place by Africell to keep pace with best practices that ensures sustainable environmental management. All the facilities visited were enclosed in fence and protected by Security Guards. What was even more significant is the hybrid system Africell has put in place to manage power generated at these stations. There is a rechargeable battery which keeps power for a couple of hours which minimizes generator use considerably reducing noise and emission. This is a move that will improve air quality in the areas and mitigate Climate Change Impact. On the whole, Mr. Syl Kamara a Consultant who works for Africell and was part of the exercise commended the EPASL for regularly conducting monitoring exercises. He said this will contribute to the sustainable management of the environment and help proponents like Africell improve on its environmental footprint and adhere to best practices that will make the environment conducive for human, plants and animal habitation.