What is the population of the country's coastal communities?
The population of Sierra Leone was reported at 4.9 million in the latest 2004 National Population and Housing Census, with an average growth rate of 2.6 per cent, per annum. Quite a large percentage of the population is found in the coastal area of Sierra Leone. The 2004 census reported 2,316,621 as total population for the coastal districts. This accounts for 46.2 per cent of the total population. This is nearly half the national population, and that they make substantial use of the coastal resources, need not be overstated. As the coastal population continue to grow, these resources correspondingly experience an increasing stress. However, the degree of coastal resources exploitation is to a large extent influenced by the population of the entire country and by the coastal population in particular.
What evidence exists of increasing salination of the country's rivers as a result of rising sea level? What kind of activity is affected and where?
Rice farming within our mangrove systems is being affected.
For decades we have been seeing rural to urban migration such that the majority of African peoples in the Guinea current region now live in coastal areas. Given the rise of sea level as a result of climate change, is there evidence of, or is there likely to be, a reverse migration of the coastal population? If there is a reverse migration, what new kinds of environmental problems might arise?
As the effects of sea level rise is not yet prominent, although we cannot rule this out, there is the possibility that a reverse of the population dynamics might occur in the event of sea level rise. If this occurs, we expect land ownership conflicts, increase in population pressure on the arable land and eventually social pressures.
What kinds of marine debris appear along Sierra Leone's shorelines and in its coastal waters and estuaries?
Plastics, domestic waste, hospital and clinical waste, industrial effluents.
What measures can be taken to stop waste disposal into the sea and along the beaches?
Policy and regulatory measures put in place, physical actions, monitoring systems, NGO intervention.
What is the degree of public awareness of environmental issues, in general, and marine environmental problems in particular?
Low, and more outreach programmes are needed.
What outreach and education programmes are being undertaken (and by whom) to inform the public about the value of marine resources, the impact of trash on these resources and human health, and the benefits of segregating wastes and recycling?
An Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme – an ADB Funded Project – has been working in this area for the last five years organizing workshops and developing environmental training manuals for fisher folk in the five axis – Goderich, Tombo, Bonthe, Shenge. These are all within the Yawri Bay, major fishing hotspots in West Africa.
SLEPA [conducts] environmental sensitization and awareness raising programmes in the whole country.
SLEPA's Sustainable Land Management Project is currently managing two mangrove sites in the country – one along the Sierra Leone River Estuary and the other in the woodland savanna areas in the northern region.
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