Sierra Leone Berewery cleared of environmental pollution
Sierra Leone’s only beverage brewing company, the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, that has recently come under scrutiny from some members of the Matokoh community in constituency 114, ward 404, who had alleged that company’s liquid waste is polluting the nearby stream in the community which is causing environmental hazards for residents in that vicinity.
In a Press Tour organized by the company on Tuesday 17th April, 2018 in the presence of the two wards councilors (Wards 404 and 405) , Osman Koroma and Mohamed Tholley representing their respective communities, Osman Brima, Environmentalist/GIS Technician of CEMMATs Group Limited, Beran Forster, the Assistant Deputy Director of Policy Planning and Research Unit of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Albert Ojo Collier, the Corporate Relations Manager of SLBL, Samuel Murumu the Supply Chain Manager of SLBL and a cross section of media practitioners, it came out clearly that the company’s liquid waste has no harm on the environment as opposed to the allegations.
This was also backed by the EPA representative, who intimated journalists that they had conducted an independent investigation on the said matter and nothing wrong so far has been discovered but however disclosed that they will continue with the investigation as they have taken samples of the waste for onward laboratory analysis.
On the part of the SLBL, the Corporate Relations Manager, Albert Ojo Collier, noted that the Management of SLBL is aware of the series of media criticisms over the pollution of the environment that is allegedly caused by the company’s liquid waste to the Matokoh community and emphatically underscored that such is completely false and far from the truth.
He noted that the Management of SLBL puts great premium on their environmental responsibility and has been doing so with utmost care. “In compliance with the recommendation of 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 Corporate Relation Manager of SLBL disclosed to journalists.
He furthered that the plant is the first of its kind in the country, having modern equipment and meets international standards. “It is fully operational and our effluent water discharged into the environment fully complies with both national standards required by the EPA and international standards. Thus our activities do not have any harmful effects on the environment,” he maintained.
Collier added that they are certified by all EPA Environmental Impact Assessment Licenses requirements which are in line with statutory regulations to operate harmlessly. He said as part of EPA requirements they are subject to quarterly monitoring inspection audits which is carried out by their consultant, CEMMATS. He informed that they had a recent inspection exercise completed by EPA on 3rd April 2018 and the analysis and results proved positive were received on the 11th April 2018.
He said they are monitoring the functioning of their plant on a daily basis and they have a fully equipped laboratory to carry out all the necessary analysis and tests.
Collier ended by stating that SLBL had been a partner in development and committed to being a reputable corporate citizen in Sierra Leone living by its mission “to be an exemplary company contributing to the sustainable development of Sierra Leone by creating more value to all stakeholders.” He said they will soon engage the community residents on the issue.
The Supply Chain Manager of SLBL, Samuel Murumu, in a pre-tour statement said that the water plant was commissioned last year and it falls within his purview. He said all their processed water is channeled into an aerobic digester. He said the plant is highly automated and monitored remotely. Journalists were taken on a conducted tour at the site which has created the hue and cry. Journalists had the chance to see the plant discharging the treated water and attested to the fact that it was clean and had no smell.
The EPA representative, Beran Forster, stated that regarding the issue sometime in May EPA received a complaint from a journalist that water discharged by SLBL is producing a nauseating smell and is polluting the area. He said they visited the community on different occasions without the knowledge of SLBL but they never noticed any foul smell underscoring how their investigation is ongoing and if they find the SLBL wanting the law will take its course and they will come down hard on them.
Osman Chris Brima of CEMMATs in his submission highlighted that they do quarterly monitoring for SLBL and they have been doing so for quite a considerable period of time. He said environmental and safety issues are serious and most be treated with all amount of seriousness. He said they are doing safety monitoring and are always keen that SLBL adheres to safety measures and policies.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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