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Environment Minister raises concern over poor waste management at Barra beach site

Sep 2, 2015, 10:13 AM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah on tour

Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water, Forestry and Wildlife, has expressed serious concerns over poor waste management at Barra beach site in the North Bank Region.

Minister Jarjue raised these concerns on Monday at Barra beach site, during his four-day nationwide tour to visit intervention sites and inspect projects, including community forests.

He was received by Mustapha Saine, deputy governor of the region at Barra.

The entourage, which comprised officials of the natural resources and the environment ministry, was led by the Hon. Minister.

A massive inspection was carried out to all projects within the environment umbrella.

The team visited Bakindic Community Forest Parks, Kerr Ardo Community Cashew farm and Tree Nursery Centre in Kerr Ardo and Illiasa Horticulture Garden, where he interacted with communities.

Speaking earlier at the Barra beach site, Minister Jarju expressed his dismay over the situation of the beach, which is seriously threatened by illegal dumping and erosion.

“You see the seriousness of this waste issues and it seemed that no one is responsible for this mess,” he said, adding that the people there are not managing their waste properly and effectively for the benefit of not only those living around the vicinity, but “also passengers and commuters who go to the country’s capital city Banjul”.

Minister Jarjue used the opportunity to call on the regional authorities to embark on a massive cleansing exercise (set-setal), to re-echo the President’s call for the monthly ‘operation clean the nation’ exercise.

“I am suggesting a regional set-setal to be organized by the Kerewan Area Council, the Governor’s Office and other stakeholders, to mobilize the communities to clean up the area and ensure that mechanisms are in place to maintain the area clean and tidy at all times for the well-being of all and sundry,” he said.

The environment minister highlighted the significance of the Barra beach, saying it is very vital for ecotourism in the country since many tourists pass through the site to visit Fort Bullen.

“My ministry in collaboration with other line ministries, NGOs, stakeholders and local communities would ensure the environment is kept clean, tidy and safe for everyone,” he said.

The Environment Minister also reminded Gambians that, come 2017, The Gambia will be open defecation-free as government is poised to combat the insanitary situation in the country.

He advised residents living in the areas around the mouth of the beach to quit the site, or else a massive demolition could be carried out in the areas, “because the condition of the place is not fit for human habitation”.