By Henkriay Naomi Samura
The Managing Director of Fomel Industry and National Industrialization Centre (FINIC) Mr. Foday Melvin Kamara has explained the bad effect and the usefulness of seaweed.
He made the explanation during the regional experts’ meeting on seaweed invasion that affected countries in West Africa.
He said the research found that Sargassum seaweed invasion started way back in June 2011 and created lots of problems for our beaches; for ordinary people and the tourist industry and it also carried an offensive smell and itches when it comes in contact with the body.
He maintained however that yet still, seaweed is a blessing in disguise.
Mr. Kamara in his brief statement at the three days conference organized by EPASL in collaboration with the Abidjan Convention, said according to research, the seaweeds are coming from the Sargasso Sea.
He said Sagasso Sea is situated somewhere in America and has no shore, adding that it is a sea that is turning round and round by itself.
He said though it is a semi-adversity for Sierra Leoneans because it displaces on our shores and covers our sands thereby not giving access to people to relax and enjoy our beaches and also giving off a bad odor, but yet still it is a blessing in disguise.
He continued to say that seaweed is in disguise form, and that it all depends on how we can turn it into something useful to be of benefit.
He outlined that the seaweed can be turned into charcoal which would wood charcoal for cooking.
This, he said, will save our forests from deforestation. Seaweed he added can also be used to generate electricity, adding that FINIC industry has learnt that the seaweed has plenty of gas which can generate electricity up to 1 megawatt.
He further said seaweed is also of benefit to farmers because it has plenty of fertile nutrients which can be used for Agriculture and is also useful for fish farming and can be used as food for domestic animals like sheep and goats after it is processed.
This, he said, will reduce the rate of poverty when young people will be involved in the gathering process and selling it by kilo or ton to earn a living.
He said his own option about the causes of seaweed can either be directly man-made or an indirectly man-made problem, citing an instance in Alaska that is a part of the USA.
He said that a company was commissioned to generate electricity for that state, and that this company generated electricity through turbines installed in the sea.
He added that when the water is passing with speed and because of the heavy current it pulls along seaweed all the way from the Sargosso Sea.
Mr. Kamara said he is calling on the government of Sierra Leone to work with industries, institutions, organization both private and non-private entities that have skills and knowledge to turn seaweed into profitable use especially through FINIC National and Industrialization Center which is committed to making seaweed a profitable business.