Municipalities, councils and waste management

Thursday, August 08, 2019

One of the biggest problems facing our municipalities and councils today is waste management and it needs urgent and maximum attention.

What even makes waste management more and more complicated is that there are no permanent places for disposing waste management in The Gambia and also waste producers do not separate their waste for easy management.

Most of these problems are in our urban centers where majority of the population lives. Most of these wastes have serious health consequences if not properly managed. Most of the waste ends up in landfills or dumped into the ocean. This causes severe health and environmental issues including malaria and waterborne diseases as a direct result of the smell of landfills that attracts flies and the toxins that seep into the soil and water supply.

Incineration of solid waste products – (burning garbage) creates a toxic pollution that causes serious health issues. The fact that open burning is a common norm in this country does not make it legal. Right steps need to be taken to arrest this menace because open burning exposes many people to serious health hazards.  

Studies have shown that out of 108 million metric tons of waste generated in West Africa a year (and growing), about 98 million tons of waste went straight into landfills. The ramifications of this are incalculable. With E-waste being widely reported as the largest issue in West Africa, it creates yet another factor to consider. E-waste comprises waste from cellphones, laptops, air conditioners and refrigerators. All of which contain toxic elements such as mercury and lead, and if not managed properly can be very dangerous to the environment, local water supply and people around the vicinity.

Our councils and municipalities in Kombos have a daunting challenge that they are confronted with on daily basis, putting into account the magnitude of importation of used goods into this country. Most of these good are so ancient that the consumers don’t even have appetite to buy those materials.

More stringent measure is still needed to ensure effective waste management in Kombos.

This is a clarion call on government to support all municipal councils in their waste disposal plans and further help in the enforcement of their by-laws and prosecution of offenders.

“The most important reason for waste collection is the protection of the environment and the health of the population. Rubbish and waste can cause air and water pollution. Rotting garbage is also known to produce harmful gases that mix with the air and can cause breathing problems in people.”

The Point