Environment Agency (NEA), Thursday briefed journalists on the upcoming
commemoration of International Coastal Clean-up Day, which will be held at the
Kombo South coastal community of Tanji, this Saturday.
The event is observed on every fourth Saturday of September. The main purpose of the clean-up exercise is to remove waste on the coastline and beaches and to increase public awareness on the effects of littering especially on the coastline.
As part of activities marking the event, the National Environment Agency and stakeholders will embark on a massive clean-up exercise along the coastline from Banjul ferry terminal to Kartong fish landing site and in Barra, North Bank Region.
Executive Director, Dodou Trawally said as part of the arrangements with their stakeholders, waste trucks will be available at all sites for waste collection while NEA and partners will be at all the targeted sites to coordinate activities. “The sites will include Barra, Banjul, Senegambia/Kololi stretch, Tanji and Gunjur,” he said.
Mr Trawally said after the day, the public is expected to make a change of attitude towards waste management, particularly deliberate dumping of waste on the coastline.
He said they expect people to come out in their large numbers to help save the marine species from being either entangled or killed as a result of waste in the oceans. “A clean beach is very much needed for The Gambia as it is one of the resources of tourist attraction.”
Darrell Sexstone, programme manager of the European Union Delegation in The Gambia said around 80% of marine litter is composed of plastic, saying from the tiniest plankton to the largest whales, plastics impact nearly 700 species in the ocean. “You’ve probably seen pictures of these impacts first hand, like a sea turtle with a plastic straw embedded in its nose or a whole entangled in a fishing net, approaching divers that release it.”
He said every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulates the marine environments. “Whether by errant plastic bags or plastic straws winding their way into gutters or large amounts of mismanaged plastic waste streaming from rapidly growing economies, that’s like dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year. And most of that plastic is bound to make an impact on the ocean ecosystems.”
Mr Sexstone said with plastic production increasing around the world, it’s clear that the ultimate solution is to keep plastic out of the ocean in the first place. He said by supporting the development and improvement of waste collection and management ‘we’ can prevent the growing tide of plastic from entering the ocean.
He said from 2021, EU will impose a ban on single-use plastic cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks, as well as food and beverage containers – including cups- made of expanded polystyrene.