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City of Freetown - Dirtiest City on Earth

By Abdul Hassan Fackie,

Freetown, Sierra Leone.


Freetown, the capital city of the tiny West African country of Sierra Leone, has at various times in its chequered history of different and many kinds of upheavals, been described as the dirtiest city in the world. 


Even as one may want to deny the fact because you are a Sierra Leonean and you are proud of your country and want the best to be said about it the honest and sad fact is that indeed the city of Freetown is unbelievably dirty. Indescribably dirty. 


Freetown with a population of about two million seven hundred thousand inhabitants, according to the 2015 census, is probably the only city in the twenty first to have open drainages and sewers spewing out faeces right in its centre with apparent abandonment. The dump sites are right in the centre of the city where human beings, rats, snakes, pigs and other rodents compete in scavenging for scraps of unwanted household and commercial refuse. 


In the market areas scattered across the city it is very common to see mountainous piles of garbage oozing nauseous mixtures of greenish, blackish and brownish stinking liquids with multifarious populations of flies, cockroaches, moths, rats , snakes and other different kinds of disease carrying parasites and viruses. 


The city of Freetown still has pit latrines in larges numbers and these emit awful smells and attract flies, cockroaches, rats, ground pigs, maggots and other different kinds of disease carrying viruses. The burning of most garbage which gives off acrid smelling black thick smoke that burns in the eyes, nostrils and throats of the inhabitants only compounds an already bad situation.  


Freetown is very dirty and smells so bad that one feels it as a normal state of affairs which we have come to accept and live with.


Little wonder that the city of Freetown is permanently plagued with all kinds of diseases and illnesses that refuse to go away, irrespective of all the many interventions that the Government and none governmental organisations constantly undertake to address this age old problem.


Diseases like malaria, cholera, typhoid fever, catarrh, dysentery, eye infections are common here and are either claiming many lives or maiming thousands of people annually. 


From surveys conducted by 40 Acres Canada in the preparation of this article, there does not seem to appear any indication that the garbage problem of Freetown is receiving the appropriate interventions needed to reverse this trend and make Freetown a clean and healthy city. Rather, there is fear that before the situation improves it is going to get worse with its attendant health implications set to multiply.