July 26, 2021
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Environment Protection Agency -Sierra Leone (EPA-SL), last week Friday, July 23rd, donated refrigeration and air conditioning training equipment to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Training College in Freetown.
Speaking during the donation ceremony at the Juba Military Barracks in Freetown, Director of Studies at the Armed Forces Technical and Education College, Colonel Richard Bockarie, said three years ago they made a presentation to the EPA-SL about the establishment of the college and sent a proposal for the training of air conditioning repairers.
He said at that time the military had only one person who knows how to repair air conditioners, and that they wanted to train more, but didn’t have the tools in their facility.
He said the donation was as a result of their request for help from the EPA-SL.
He said the college admits both members of the military and members of the public (civilians), adding that all the skill trainings are done free of cost basis.
He said the college provides courses in all skill training, including construction, tailoring, carpentry repairing of air conditioners, plumbing and many others.
He said the challenges they were faced with currently is the limited space of the college which can only accommodate 500 students, even though they have more applications from young people who to enrol into the college.
Director, EPA-SL, Momodu A. Bah, said the Government of Sierra Leone signed and ratified the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone, and was done to limit the production and release of harmful man-made gases into the environment that affects the protective shield God provides to save and protect all living things on earth from the harmful effect of the sun and the ozone layer.
He said the ozone is a protective layer that occurs naturally in the stratosphere, 6 to 28 miles in altitude. Stratospheric ozone absorbs 97-99 percent of ultraviolet radiation and as the protective layer continues to disintegrate, human health will suffer.
He said with less ozone in the atmosphere, more ultraviolet radiation strikes the earth, causing more skin cancer and cataract development, reducing the human immune system, causing eye damage that leads to blindness, and would also produce lower crop yields. Some crops, such as rice are sensitive to ultraviolet light.
He further stated that, the main causes of ozone depletion are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), such as coolants, aerosols, and fire extinguishers and when CFCs are released, they rise into the ozone layer.
He called on the students to ensure that they are environmentally conscious during their work and promised that the donation was just the start of the partnership between both institutions.
He said without the ozone layer, the health of every single living being on planet earth would be jeopardized and people who need it most are destroying the ozone layer.
He noted that with more people on the planet, there will be the use of more automobiles, CFCs, and refrigerants and in turn, an increase in these products will yield an increase in air pollution.
Receiving the donation, Assistant Chief of Defense Staff, Brigadier General Fahim Marah, said he was delighted to receive the donation on behalf of the Armed Forces, nothing that President Bio places much importance to human capital development and that is why education is high on his agenda.
He said what they are doing now is something other countries including Nigeria have been doing for decades and that expertise in technical and vocational skills are high and reflects everything they used.
He said some companies will have to hire foreigners to do jobs requiring basic skills, and that is because there are not trained people here who can do those jobs, which is why they have established a college that will give youth the opportunity to learn basic skills and become useful in society.
He encouraged the students to put all their efforts and master the skills and make themselves useful in society. He thanked the Environment Protection Agency for their donation.