My view on the effective protection of our environment should not be taken lightly there should always be an action of ‘quick response’ in handling or dealing with defaulters. Furthermore, the enforcement mandate of the National Protected Area Authority NPAA should be more rigid and robust and should be executed without fear or favour.
Early on this year, a demolition exercise was undertaken by the authorities concerned along the Regent-Grafton Highway supposedly of clearing the right-of-way of illegal occupation. The exercise to a large extent crumbled when houses eligible for demolition were speared. This action in itself prompted heated debate amongst locals concluding that there were political interferences. And the whole exercise was halted. Nothing more happened.
Not even a first time visitor to Sierra Leone coming through Regent Village will marvel at the unplanned construction of mansions and the like at the foot of sugarloaf. The huge water-pipe-line was considered to be the buffer-zone during the scrambling of sugarloaf.
This is no time to cast blames as we can cant rewind or turn back the ugly hands of time and nature; however, it should be a time for sober reflection in order to make things right. Take a brief walk to what used to be ‘mount sugarloaf’ the scramble for land has left the beautiful mountain naked and prone to whatever nature has in-store for her.
The once powerful mountain that held on the huge stone that rolled down some 20 years ago from destroying lives and properties or even reaching the people of Regent can’t even resist heavy down pour of rain nor withhold the soft earth beneath her any longer. Forests that should serve as wind-breakers are no more.
With regard to the topography of Sierra Leone, the peninsular areas are mostly mountainous and the Western part consisting of coastal mangrove swamps. The mountains rising to about 730m or 2,400 ft had in the past served as anchors for regulating weather, strong winds and high seas. Sugarloaf being one of the highest mountains second to the Picket Hill is largely encroached.
In pursuit of urbanization, we are selfishly trading our mountains erecting citadels with little to think about the future which starts now, the present.
The campaign to protect our Environments should not wholly and solely rest on the shoulders of the NPAA, but rather lining ministries with the mandate of issuing permits. Residence of sugarloaf will be unhappy reading this article, but the hard truth is they need to move away from the pipe-line. The mudslide disaster took place in an area with trees though soften soil. If at any given time the water pipe should break there would be a disaster of greater magnitude that would affect Regent Village. Put politics aside and act now!