By Lansana Fofanah.
Following series of media reports on the activities of the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited around the Wellington Industrial Estate recently, the company has organized a safety tour for the media and stakeholders within it facilities to showcase the state of the earth machines that are installed to treat every products before disposing it into the environment.
Journalists witnessed the stages the water is chemically treated through the company’s newly installed Waste Water Treatment Plant laboratory until it is safe for dumping before any release could take place.
Briefing the press, the Cooperate Affairs Manager of Brewery, Albert Ojo Collier said that since the establishment of Brewery in 1962, the company has always treated environmental concerns very seriously and that is why the company has been able to implement every technological standard as they emerged in order to exist based on international best practice.
“The management of SLBL takes our environmental responsibility with utmost importance and hereby call on the attention of the media of Sierra Leone to note that the company can confidently confirm that we are complying with all laws and statutes regarding the environment.
In compliance with the recommendation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and in alignment with our environmental policy, we invested over 4 million Euros in a state of the art Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to treat our processed waste water before discharging it into the nearby stream.
The plant itself, which is the first of its kind in Sierra Leone, has modern equipments and meets international standards. It is fully operational and our effluent water discharged I to the government fully complies with both the National standard required by EPA and international standards.
We are certified by all EPA Environmental Impact Assessment License requirements, which is in line with statutory regulations to operate harmlessly. As part of EPA requirements, we are subject to quarterly monitoring inspection audits. This is carried out by our Consultants CEMMATS. We had a very recent inspection exercise completed by EPA on 3rd April 2018 and the analysis and results which proved positive were received on 11 April 2018”, he said.
The Cooperate Affairs Assistant, Unisa Conteh said that the company has been very appreciative of the hospitality of the community, but what has been disturbing is the fact that, the company has been facing lots of challenges in addressing the various needs from the different voices or authorities claiming to represent the people.
Mr Unisa said that during the company’s recent disclosure, one of the recommendations from EPA was that, there should be a Community Development Action Plan (CDAP) which should be used to address concerns from the community, and that led to the formation of the Community Development Committee comprising of elected, Members of Parliament, Ward Councilors, youth groups and Brewery so that everyone will be involved.
He said Brewery being a humble company has been fully living up to its corporate social responsibilities by dolling out Billions of Leones to provide water facilities and the construction of a health center for both WARD 404 and 405.
Beran Forster, the Assistant Deputy Director for Policy Planning at EPA, said that the EPA has conducted two secret surveys at the Matokor stream and collected samples of the waste water which was taken to their lab, but fortunately, nothing seems to be dangerous or harmful to the community.
Councilor Osman Koroma of WARD 404 said that Brewery has been able to implement the emerging concerns of the community and they hope for more engagement in the long-run for better understanding.
Councilor Mohamed G. Tholley of WARD 405, said that there are 13 industries in Wellington, but in terms of environmental safety compliance and corporate social responsibilities, Brewery is grade A, which shows their commitment towards fulfilling laid down principles within the framework of the law.