OPINION:Horrible sewage dumping site at Kotu area

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dear Editor,

I hope you will be kind enough to please publish my letter of complaint over the horrible sewage dumping site at Kotu area where by all indications the place has recently become a serious environmental and health hazard to the entire residents in the neighborhood and beyond. For the past three months or so, in what appear to be an increasing deadly stench coming from this sewage site, the departments you might think are in charge and are doubtlessly aware of the problem and could have weighed in to rescue the helpless victims affected particularly the health ministry are all acting as if they are clueless over what measures to take.

In fact with the Ministries of health and interior all located in the vicinity plus the presence of the Gambia Tourism Board Office, the Kotu Police and Fire Service Stations, all affected by the toxic smell one would assume that a swift action would have been taken long ago to address the problem.

Moreover, being a residential area for some prominent Gambians-the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Senior Military Officers, department heads, Businessmen, etc-who are equally affected but are not doing much about finding a solution leaves me questioning the commitment of our authorities to the health and welfare of the people around.

The Vice President, the Armed Forces Chief of Defense Staff, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and a whole host of eminent personalities regularly travel back and forth on the Bertil Harding Highway with the stench overwhelming their vehicles; yet nobody seems to come up with a remedy.

The last time I checked, concerned neighbors and workers in the area familiar with the operational conditions of the sewage site, allegedly blamed the incompetent private organization contracted to chemically treat the sewage that they are refusing to do for more profit.

Even the Chinese toxic waste that the Gunjure youth successfully fought against its discharge at their beaches, an industrial toxic waste not for a sewage treatment facility, is now being transported and accepted for dumping at the site for the right price.

After all, this Kotu sewage site is very close to the tourist-hotel area and other businesses that are in danger of closing or losing a lot of business.

However, if it is true as few are saying that the company is in short supply of the chemicals required to treat the waste, hence causing the stench, then I believe the place should not accept anymore sewage or should go into a temporary shut down until the required chemicals are here. Otherwise I will but accept the allegation of corruption or profiteering being the root cause of the environmental poisoning perpetrated by an “unscrupulous private” company.

I strongly appeal to the government to take immediate action to help the people of Kotu. The whole site should be relocated to a non-residential and non-business area.

Thank you very much