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‘Environmental protection critical to socio-economic development’

Jan 12, 2016, 10:09 AM | Article By: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang (NEA)

Alh Omar Sumpo Ceesay, Governor of Upper River Region (URR), has said environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management is critical to the socio-economic development of the country, as the population depends on it for their livelihood.

He recently made these remarks in the regional capital, Basse, during a presentation of assorted cleansing materials to St. Georges Lower Basic School and two motor cycles for the NEA regional office through the Governor.

He disclosed that the Government of The Gambia elaborated on the Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP) in 1991 to set guidelines within which all the environment and natural resource sectors of The Gambia are required to operate.

The GEAP, he said, provides the basic framework for a sound and sustainable management of the Gambia’s environment and natural resources, as well as increased environmental awareness for effective public participation in environmental management.

In presenting the items, the Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ndey Sireng Bakurin, remarked that environmental education is one of the basic tools needed in moulding school children to take responsibility for their environment.

She noted that the transfer of knowledge to school children in particular and the public at large on sound environmental management and sustainable development guarantees a healthy environment for everyone.

She pointed out that environmental protection needs holistic efforts from all walks of life in order to achieve any national sustainable development agenda, citing that it can trigger active popular participation for the Operation Clean the Nation (OCN), banon plastic bags, Anti-littering Regulation and their social benefits, as they are designed to create a positive image of the country, boost tourism, reduce the incidence of vector-borne diseases especially malaria, and contribute to the country`s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Calling for the incorporation of environmental issues into all spheres of our development sectors, the NEA official described school children as agents of change and promised to collaborate and continue the capacity building of stakeholders.

Schools Environment Outreach Programme, she revealed, aims to inculcate environmental education and skills into the young school going children for them to serve as agents of change, as they are the future leaders.

“These motorcycles are expected to boost the morale of our regional staff, and further facilitate and enhance their easy movement to our project sites within the region.”

She called for positive attitudinal chance towards the environment with the rapid socio-economic growth in the region.

She also called on the populace of URR to desist from using plastic bags as a banned substance, as its negative impacts on both human health and the environment are enormous.

Furthermore, Bakurin applauded the people of URR for their active participation in the twice monthly “Operation Clean the Nation” exercise, in order to get rid of waste generated.

She, therefore, called on them to apply the three Rs - Reduce, Re-use and Recycle - waste generated before dumping.

Cleanliness is next to godliness, said Cherno Barra Touray, URR deputy Governor while welcoming the NEA entourage, and thanked the environment agency for constantly defending the state of well-being of the environment.

He called on the beneficiaries to take maximum care of the donated items to reduce tear and wear, while calling for a positive attitudinal change in the management, maintenance and monitoring of projects, office equipment, vehicles, and other materials that are not easily made available.

Muhammed Trawally, deputy head-boy of St. George`s Lower Basic School, one of the benefitting schools, thanked the NEA administration for considering his school among many, despite the distance in reaching out to them.

He promised to utilise the materials and boost their stance towards environmental cleanliness and protection.

The school’s senior agricultural science teacher, Emmanuel Kofi, represented the principal at the presentation ceremony.