>Kingtom was known to me from my previous visit to Sierra Leone. It was where I’d spent my first nights in country. But I didn’t venture near the dump.
Freetown has two. There’s one at Kissy and there’s this one at Kingtom. It’s in the heart of the city and borders a water course. It’s far removed from how we manage landfill here.
For starters people can roam freely. Whilst they’re not supposed to, it hasn’t stopped people building homes, scavenging for reusable materials or even indulging in a little bit of agriculture. In fact, when it comes to using the landfill as temporary farmland that’s a source of revenue for the Freetown Waste Management Company/Freetown City Council.
Add to that the absence of measuring the waste that comes in. There’s no earth moving equipment to keep on top of the garbage. This means that during the rainy season only half the site is safe to use (hence providing the opportunity for agriculture). Lorries come right into the dump, drive onto the rubbish and choose somewhere to dump it without any sorting.
We weren’t sure who was staff but we came to the conclusion that if they had wellies then that probably meant they were legitimate. However, that was the extent of protective equipment. As medical waste is treated in the same way as everything else that places these men, women and children at huge risk of needle stick injuries.
On the up side the road that ran through it was amongst the best in Freetown…