National Environment Agency (NEA), over the weekend joined the International
Community to commemorate International Coastal Clean-up Day.
The event is observed 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, NEA and stakeholders embarked on a massive clean-up exercise along the coastline, from Banjul ferry terminal to Kartong fish landing site and in Barra, North Bank Region, on the theme: Heal the bay.
Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources minister, Lamin Dibba appealed for attitudinal change towards the environment and waste management, saying the bay could be healed through efforts in removing all trash from the beach.
“Today marks the 8th year since The Gambia joined the international community to observe the International Coastal Clean-up day,” he said.
Mr Dibba said the main purpose of the clean-up exercise by the ocean conservancy in 1986 is not different from today’s purpose, which is to remove debris from water bodies including coastline and beaches and to make a positive change and promote waste prevention efforts around coastal environment.
He however said the exercise alone is not enough, saying people should endeavour to take responsibility of keeping the environment clean, particularly the beaches.
He said record shows that plastics are hazardous to marine life, killing more than a million birds and over 100,000 seals, turtles and whales and an immense number of fish in the ocean. “What we doing today is one of the solutions to get rid of litters on our beaches,” he said.
Head of the European Union Delegation, Attila Lajos also said from 2021, a ban will be in place in the EU for single use of plastic cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straw, drink stirrers and balloon, as well as food and beverage containers, including cups made of expanded polystyrene.
“The new EU rules ban single use disposable plastic products for which plastic free alternatives already exist. We have 40 delegations worldwide taking part in the international beach clean-up day today,” he said.
Mr. Lajos said NEA’s initiative will encourage proper disposal of waste by supporting the development and the improvement of waste collection. “We can prevent the growing tide of plastics from entering the ocean now.”
Governor of West Coast Region, Bakary K Sanyang thanked NEA for choosing Tanji for the second time for the exercise, encouraging the people of the community and the surrounding communities to take beach cleaning seriously.