Set-settal should be revisited

Monday, July 31, 2017

After 8 months of absence, set-settal, which is the national cleansing exercise, resumed last Saturday 29 July 2017.

For many, the notice was very short; it was only by SMS or text message sent out by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to notify people about the exercise hence majority of the people in the country did not get the message and were therefore not aware of the resumption of the exercise.

Moreover, even where some people could receive the short notice, the majority who are illiterate could not comprehend the message as they could not read it to be able to act on it.

Usually and prior to this unexpected announcement people were informed through GRTS in English and in all the local languages three days before the actual day.

Furthermore there was no specific information in the SMS sent out by the NEA as to what time to start the cleansing exercise and what time to end it, leading to erratic rush in the morning while traffic was also closed, which affected the smooth operations of commercial business as well as personal transactions.

It is essential to note that any time such an important undertaking is to be carried out by the public, people should be well informed through GRTS and other mediums.

There is no doubt that set-settal is good for our heath. It can however be carried out in such a way that it won’t hinder the smooth flow of vehicles and businesses.

Currently, there is no country in the sub-region that is closing traffic for set-settal. The Gambia is a model of trade and our neighbours are travelling to the country, especially on weekends, to buy essential goods for trade and personal use further afield.

Closing the traffic is not ideal; it will hamper our businesses including banks, and this will also affect our re-export trade.

We can do the monthly set-settal and impose sanctions on yard owners who repeatedly fail to clean their environs. The sanction or penalty should be appropriately administered after defaulters have first been warned adequately. Where such warnings are not heeded then fines or other penalties can be imposed. But people should not be forced to be indoors.

Having said this, it is vital to note that we are in a new Gambia, and we should endeavour to keep our country spic and span, as we promote cleanliness and avoid dumping rubbish in our environments.

The municipalities should have more vehicles and more labourers to collect garbage in time and deposit them in the areas earmarked for that.

Government should bear in mind that some students are going to classes on Saturdays, patients need to go to hospitals, and that banks and pharmacies should be opened, as they are highly needed.

We are therefore appealing to the National Environment Agency to revisit the national cleansing services in the interest of all of us; that is, meaning during the set-settal business can be carried out and vehicles or the traffic can be allowed to flow.

Meanwhile, we commend CDS Lt General Masaneh Kinteh and the gallant men and women of all security forces who came out in large numbers to clean most of the areas in the city centres such as Banjul and KMC.

“We should maintain the new Gambia in a pristine condition on a new model of set-settal.”
The Point