Jan 12, 2009, 6:06 AM
As part of celebrations marking World Earth Day, officials of G4S Secure Solutions (Gambia) in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment and the National Environment Agency last Saturday embarked on a day-long tree planting exercise at Tumani Tenda camp in Kombo East, West Coast Region.
Speaking to our reporter at the exercise, Mariam Jagana-Sarr, Business Development Manager of G4S said the celebration is part of celebrations marking World Earth Day, noting that G4S celebrates this every year but in the Gambia, this is the first of its kind.
She told journalists that their intention was to plant over 500 trees but in the dry season, they will only plant 150 trees for the moment.
‘We believe that we have been destroying the environment because we cut trees for firewood and other domestic purposes and those trees need to be replaced for our carbohydrates,’ Madam Jagana-Sarr said, adding that as a company G4S believe in giving back to the people and the exercise was part of their corporate social responsibility.
‘When it comes to tree planting, one needs experts and that is why we came with officials from the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Forestry,’ she stated.
According to her, though it would be difficult to maintain the 150 trees, but in the event they are maintained until its maturity period, G4S will help in the exporting or selling of the fruits and the money generated will be ploughed back to the community for investment.
The G4S Business Development Manager advised the community of Kombo East to take good care of the trees planted, noting that her company wants to build good relationship with the community by working with them.
‘We want to plant as many trees as we can because we are talking about 500 trees but we want to plant 100,000 trees,’ she said, adding that every three months, her company will visit the trees and discuss the way forward in sustaining them with the community.
She commended all those who in one way or the other participated in the exercise. She also commended her boss Abranhen Ghazarian, regional managing director of North and West Africa, who she said, loves growing trees.
About G4S Company
Madam Jagana-Sarr used the occasion to highlight the work of her company, disclosing that the job of G4S is to provide security for embassies, diplomats, NGOs and offices.
‘When you talk of G4S, people just think it is a physical man guarding but we are beyond that; what G4S is doing in the South African office is the same being done by G4S here in The Gambia,’ she stated.
She further stated that G4S has provided vehicle tracking, alarm system manned guarding, and 24 hrs help service as well as document storage and management, noting that the company employs about 900 Gambian staff.
Babanding Sanyang, senior expert from the Department of Forestry and the Environment lauded G4S for the initiative, noting that the day is of paramount importance especially to conservators in the community.
Planting trees, he said, is one of the priorities that government is very much particular about.
Sanyang assured G4S Company and the community of Tumani Tenda of his ministry’s fullest support at all times, noting that government cannot do it alone.
‘Planting trees is very important but what is most important is to sustain what has been planted,’ he said, while calling on the community to take responsibility of taking care of the planted trees.
Mohammed Gomez, Programme Officer for Environmental Education and Communication at the National Environment Agency, said tree planting means protecting the environment.
According to him, the environment should be protected because it has a lot of things in it.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Mamadou Sanyang, Alkalo of Tumani Tenda.