#Article (Archive)

A Welcome Initiative

Sep 18, 2008, 5:42 AM

The recent announcement by the Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA) that his office, in partnership with the municipal councils, public health authorities, and Department of physical planning will embark on a massive enforcement campaign on the Anti-Littering Regulation immediately after the rainy season particularly in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) and other major growth centres throughout the country is very welcome indeed.

Momodou B. Sarr made this declaration at the opening ceremony of a two-day sensitisation training workshop for the KMC Fans Club recently held at the President's International Award Scheme in Bakau.

We see great work done once a month with regard to cleaning the environment during Set-Setal but to gain any real foothold in the fight against litter we must enforce these laws. The government was obviously well aware that the best way to combat litter is to prevent it being thrown in the first place and introduced this legislation to address the issue. It must be ensured that this excellent legislation is used to the fullest degree so we can keep our streets clean and beautiful. Our tourist industry will inevitably suffer if people travel from Europe on to find litter all over our streets here in The Gambia.

Another excellent aspect of the legislation is the fines that are imposed. These will prove to be an additional boost to the coffers of the various area councils.

The NEA boss also said another serious public nuisance is the discharge of wastewater from compounds into the public street. This practice is against the law and is now punishable with fines of up to D5000. Furthermore he said litter is also much more expensive to manage because each piece of litter is generally hand-picked, which is time-consuming and unnecessarily expensive of tax-payers. "In The Gambia, the complaint from the general public has been that there aren't enough dustbins in the streets for the public to throw their litter. That problem is gradually being addressed with the placement of more dustbins at strategic locations within the KMC. But it should not be used as an excuse for littering as all of us have a moral obligation to keep our environment clean and green," he said. These are extremely wise words. Perhaps there is a role for the private sector in this crusade. If business owners place dustbins outside their premises it would greatly reduce the instance of litter on our streets.

To fully tackle this issue we must all work together and take collective responsibility. The environment belongs to us all and we should help each other to protect it.