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Gunjur youth embark on tree planting exercise

Aug 1, 2017, 3:48 PM | Article By: Lamin Darboe

Hundreds of youths on Saturday converged in the coastal town of Gunjur to restore and revive the environment by planting more than 10,000 tree seedlings.

The initiative embraced by the whole community of Gunjur and beyond, was spearheaded by the Gunjur Environmental Concern Group (ECGG), a community-based environmental organisation.

According to the coordinator of the organisation, Lamin Jammeh, alias Mbakau, the tree planting exercise has been driven by the level of environmental damages as a result of sand mining and other activities that undermine sustainable agricultural practice in the coastal settlement.

The tree planting exercise in Gunjur has been hailed as a step in the right direction towards achieving the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SGD’s) 13 and 15.

The exercise has also seen an unprecedented number of donations from the diaspora residents of Gunjur and friends of The Gambia and the environment, who each bought and named trees after their families, loved ones and celebrated heroes.

The Gunjur Development Forum (GDF), Gunjur Project, local business and private individuals spearheaded a massive fund raising drive to raise in excess of D35,000 for the purchase of plants.

In addition to the huge sums raised for this exercise, the Geology Department of The Gambia also contributed eight thousand plants (8,000) towards the tree planting exercise.

Speaking about the tree planting exercise in Gunjur, Jenny Ringstead of The Gunjur Project said: “Today is a remarkable example of a community coming together to make a change for the better of everyone’s future. The community has been in despair at the destruction of different areas from the sand mining, to the Bolong lagoon, and to our ocean waters”.

She commended the community for addressing their agonies through a positive approach rather than a civil disorder, she added.

“In May this year, the community came together for World Ocean Day, raised funds, and cleaned up the beach. Today is another example of challenging areas of concern with positive actions,” she stated.

“This tree planting exercise has seen some 10K trees planted, and see areas being given the support to rejuvenate and to become the once beautiful Gunjur that is in all our hearts. What an example we are showing to the younger generation, those that we will rely on to make positive changes for all our futures. From small trees grow big forests.”

Gunjur Project were able to successfully raise funds for this tree planting exercise as many of the groups and volunteers that visit the project always leave with a bit of Gunjur in their hearts and they will support wherever possible.

Awa Sey, one of the brains behind the Gunjur Development Forum (GDF), hailed the historic tree planting event in Gunjur to restore the depleted forest and replace some needed native trees in Gunjur.

Sey added: “I am extremely proud of the citizens and friends of Gunjur who came together to make this tree planting exercise successful. We asked for funds from Gunjurians in the Diaspora and they answered our calls and donated selflessly. Then, those in Gunjur too planted the trees and made our environment come to life. I am sitting here watching videos and seeing pictures and can feel the enthusiasm all the way from America.”

Commenting further on the success of the tree planting exercise, Omar A J Saho, an Environmental Activist said: “Special thanks and appreciation goes to all those who have contributed their talent and time, in making this tree planting a successful event. I humbly thank all the institutions, clubs, Kafoos, youth groups, organizations and individuals who have contributed or participated in the exercise towards the ecological restoration of the southern coastline.”

The historic tree planting exercise was attended by the Alkalo of Gunjur, Alhagie Giki Darboe as well as other distinguished personalities including Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, Omar Manjang, Lawyer Lamin J Darbo, Lawyer Ebrima Jaiteh and Momodou Charreh Jibba.

Youth groups such as The Kulcochi Youth Development Association, Falcons Football Club and the AlangKoka singing group, all attended the event and contributed to the resounding success of the 10K Tree Planting Exercise.