Barra beachside: First things first

Thursday, September 03, 2015
The minister of Environment, Pa Ousman Jarju, has raised eyebrows about “poor waste management” at Barra beachside caused by illegal dumping.

We share with the minister his concerns, as environmental sanitation and cleanliness of the beach should be everyone’s concern.

However, the poor waste management at Barra is an effect; it has a cause.In essence, the poor waste management is a symptom of a disease that the community has been grappling with, but which they are trying to diagnose themselves.

Probably there is no waste dumping site in Barra, which is a busy trading centre.Barra is probably the biggest market centre in North Bank, apart from Farafenni.Not only that, the village is a house to the second busiest and largest public carpark in the North Bank Region.

Aside from the market and carpark, the community itself generates waste on a daily basis.

The amount of waste produced in Barra daily is significant, but there is no place to throw it.The waste cannot be left heaped in the markets, carparks or in the community.They have to dump it somewhere - but where?

Besides, a waste collection service is almost non-existent in Barra.If there is, probably the collection is done monthly, whereas the waste is produced hourly.

In essence, the poor waste management and illegal dumping at the beachside is just one part of a bigger problem in Barra.

As long as the problem is not dealt with holistically, the waste management conundrum would still linger on.

The proposal for a regional ‘set-setal’ to be done in Barra is a brilliant suggestion that would help solve the problem, but only for today.

If there should be such cleansing, where is the waste going to be transferred and how do the people take it there?

What sustainability measures are put in place to make sure that after the cleansing no waste will be thrown at the beachside again?

If the waste management and illegal dumping at the beachside in Barra is to be solved, it should be done holistically, by first ensuring that there is an appropriate site allocated for it to be dumped – first things first.

The Kerewan Area Council should wake up and live up to its social expectations, particularly to the community from whom they are collecting a lot of revenue.

Having said that, we share with the minister his concern that if the status quo is left unchecked, the well-being of the community is at risk.

A shabby environment is an open invitation for diseases.Infectious diseases thrive in unhygienic environments and put everyone’s life and livelihood at risk.

Therefore, every effort should be made by the community of Barra, but more importantly by the local authority – Kerewan Area Council – to make sure that the community is tidy and hygienic all the time.

“We cannot claim to love God, if we continue to live in unclean environment andpollute the waters.”

Lailah Gifty Akita