Environmental Issues: Sierra Leone

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Sierra Leone

In the modern world, the impact of nearly every fabric of a society as it affects the environment has been intensely scrutinized. Sierra Leone is no exception.

With the Civil War over and an economy still in turmoil, Leonians have begun to re-establish their agricultural sector. Over 40% of the country’s current GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is made up of agricultural ventures. People that were previously living in shantytowns next to the capital of Freetown, have now moved back into the rural country side.

(Mongabay)

An unfortunate by-product of this semi-exodus is the establishment of farm land. These large tracts of land have been cleared of their forests – resulting in a significant amount of deforestation, which has increased by 7.3% since 2002. Deforestation has an immeasurable damaging affect to nearly every environmental aspect. Such as:

  • With the destruction of habitat, wild life numbers diminish significantly – contributing to the growing number of endangered species.
  • With fewer trees, the soil can become arid and can lack nutrients, which cannot be easily restored.
  • The arid soil is then susceptible to soil erosion which may then, in the future, cause flash flooding and land slides which kill an estimated 25,000 people per year world-wide. (Deforestation)

deforestation4

In addition to deforestation, Sierra Leone also faces a lack of clean drinking water. It is estimated that Leone only has 160 cubic kilometers of sustainable water sources. While 3/4 of people living in urban areas have access to safe water, only a little under half have access in rural areas. This has been a hindrance to the well-being of nearly all members of Sierra Leone’s society. (Encyclopedia of Nations)

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