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Environmental sensitization campaign wraps up in NBR

Sep 5, 2011, 1:12 PM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay and Fatoumatta Jawara

Region three was the latest region to be sensitised on the establishment of Environmental Green Club and the training of garden masters, school students, caretakers, headmasters, mothers club and others.

The training programme was organised by the department of forestry and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The activities were also in two forms running concurrently; that is the training of garden masters and the establishment and support to environmental green club by the forestry department, which involves five schools and organisations.

The purpose was to see how to maintain an environmental green club in our schools or communities.

The invited schools in Kerewan North Bank Region were Mamudar Lower Basic, Kerr Sanyang Lower Basic, Kuntar Senior Secondary School, Jaba Kunda Upper and Secondary School, and CBO Operation No Back Way to Europe - NBR Branch.
Speaking at the training, the lead resource person, Mustapha Drammeh, from the Ministry of Education, said the environment has become an area of major socio-political focus during the past forty years.

Mr Drammeh added that interest in the environment has grown because of the increasing seriousness of environmental problems such as deforestation, environmental pollution, greenhouse gas emission and other related health hazards.

These problems have become more and more visible, first to some individuals like the biologist Rachel Carson and later to society at large, including policymakers.

Until the 1960s the environment was the exclusive research area of the natural sciences, he said, adding that the environmental and social spheres of life seemed to be completely separated.

‘Only a few researchers tried to bridge the gap in studies of peoples’ interaction with the physical environment by both anthropologists and production scientists, including forestry and agricultural scientists,” he said. “Thus the formation of these environmental green clubs in the Gambian schools is another move to bring people closer to the environment.”

Mr Drammeh further stressed that the forest covers one third of the Earth land mass, performing vital function around the world.

“In fact 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods,” he says. “They play a key role in our battle against climate change. Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water needed for nearly 50 per cent of the world largest cities. They help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms and floods.”

Mr Drammeh also says deforestation, which could mean cutting down trees and not replacing them, accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global green house gas emission and costs the world economy up to five billion dollar every year.

Mr Drammeh stated that the clubs, with the support from the forestry department and the regional directorates, can organize series of activities that will enhance people’s awareness on the importance of protecting and preserving the country’s forest cover.

“Therefore every stakeholder has a role to play and perform certain responsibilities to ensure we succeed in not only keeping our environment green, but  also in being clean, healthy and pollution-free by planting more trees.

For his part, Mohammed Kebbeh, senior educationist from the Ministry of Education representing the regional directorate in region three, expressed delight in having these types of training for school students, garden masters, headmasters and other targeted quarters of society.

“The training is very important, as far as the forest is concerned,” he said, adding: “The participants’ protection of our forest should be our primary concern.”

He also used the opportunity to thank the department of forestry for the “laudable initiative”, while giving advice to the participants to put the knowledge gained from the workshop to practice.