National Environment Agency (NEA), has warned against dumping waste in the
run-off waters, pointing out that those found wanting will face the law.
“As a cross cutting issue, environmental issues are paramount to any sustainable development establishment, and therefore positive attitudinal change towards the environment particularly waste management becomes a driving force for any country’s socio- economic development,” says Momodou Jama Suwareh, the executive director of the NEA.
This came against the backdrop of numerous reports that some communities are notorious of throwing their domestic waste into the run-off water during the rains, and this cocktail complex of waste are eventually deposited into our marine systems. A practice common with the women folk, with Mr. Suwareh calling on the general populace to desist from such uncalled for behaviour that will not only affect human health and the ecosystem, but will threaten our own existence.
“Greater percentage of Gambians entirely depends on our marine systems as their source of protein and other potential benefits then, are we not poisoning our own source of livelihood? he queried, while calling on the public to put away such ungodly attitude.
On an equal footing, Mr. Suwareh further warned motor garages locally called Fitter-Garage to immediately seize spilling used oil on the ground or into waterways. He further revealed environmental inspectors will access and monitor such garages in an effort to curb this very negative operation.
Environmental awareness, he said, is inadequate in many developing countries including The Gambia. “Therefore inhabitants must take ownership of their surroundings to prevent the prevalence of transmittable and other environmental related diseases that we can contact through poor waste management.”
Mr. Suwareh revealed that our populations are growing rapidly while many of our urban communities are also experiencing the negative effects of unplanned urbanisation particularly the impacts on sanitation and waste. This, he warned, will steadily but surely erode successes achieved, and could prevent our nation attaining environmental and health objectives of our development blueprints.
He further posited that waste management in African countries including The Gambia is emerging as a key threat to health, environment, economy and quality of life of millions of Africans as the level of urbanisation, motorisation and economic activity increases. Negative attitudes towards the environment deteriorate the air quality, cause pollution, contamination, etc. that havoc adverse effects on the poor, the elderly and the children. He sadly pointed out.
Mr. Suwareh noted that these unwarranted behaviors led to the establishment of the Anti-Littering Regulation that was put into law on 14th June 2007 with the objective of strengthening the irrefutable positive links between a clean environment and good health. The regulation would also serve as a deterrent for individuals, companies and communities not to abuse the process of waste management.
The NEA boss further suggested for a mass mobilization of the general public to conduct cleansing exercises that is extremely necessary at the very commencement of the rainy season, to avoid creating conducive breeding place for mosquitos.
He further disclosed that certain waste types such as the empty glass bottles, metal cans, tyres etc. capable of holding rain water, serve as perfect breeding area for the larvae of mosquitoes and other vector-borne insects. To remove all such empty canisters capable of holding rainwater from compounds and other public facilities at this very start of the rainy season should be accorded the highest priority by the general public, he pointed out.
He finally stressed that attitudinal change towards waste would have a direct positive result on the prevalence of malaria cases, being one of the killer diseases in the country.
“Without the necessary mass mobilisation of the public, a large portion of these waste volumes would remain uncontrolled, thus posing lots to environment and health threats, as they may end up in our marine water ways,” he warned.