Mar 23, 2011, 1:13 PM
Saturday’s set settal as locally called began right from the main gate of the Mansakonko Area Council, where a cohort of volunteers irrespective of their official status followed trucks and tractors loading them with refuse that marred the front view of major roads of the region’s busiest areas.
Tool holders in the form of cutlasses, wheelbarrows, spades and shovels, among others, had their part to play in disallowing the maturity of the beautiful grasses in the places and the destruction of mosquito habitants in the number of potholes and ditches in the town considered one of the seventh disaster hotspots in The Gambia.
Speaking to The Point LLR correspondent at the cleansing exercise, LRR Governor Lamin Darboe said the work done was proof that the people are not only adhering to the call of the President, but also a demonstration of their will to ensure a healthy environment to live in.
By way of the cleansing he said, the residents will benefit from good health, adding that the exercise should be done on a continuous base.
According to Governor Darboe, the organizers are commendable for directing their focus on the most challenging areas to clean.
He said that it has been the habit of others “to litter roads to the market, the garages, ferry crossing points and in public service areas for no reason”, and called for a change of attitude.
He expressed pleasure for the bold step taken by those who came out to clean the places identified, and urged others in the region to join the call in both the daily and monthly cleansing exercises for them to maintain the region to make it clean, nice looking and healthy.
The Chairman of the Mansakonko Area Council, Fabakary Sanneh, said such a high profile environmental cleansing exercise was possible, because those involve in it understood that they were working for themselves and not for anyone else.
He observed that the most active groups in the exercise were the civil servants within the region, noting that the campaign is in high level for his office to involve the entire population of LRR into future similar activities.
According to the council chairman, the public would not have been bothered to handpick rubbish in the front of the region’s commercial towns had his council acquired enough sophisticated cleansing materials.
“We operate with a single tractor, with limited small tools including wheelbarrows and street dustbins to keep the places clean and tidy all the time,” he said.
“You realize that our daily cleansing activities are slow to cover the entire settlements under our catchment”, Sanneh further remarked.
He used the opportunity to make an open appeal to donors from all angles with interest to help communities through the local area activities, including environmental sanitation, market management, and provision of public services for towns and villages in the Lower River Region.
Borry Musa Demba, National Environment Agency’s LRR programme officer gave his impressions about the response of the different stakeholders in the monthly cleansing exercise.
He named areas like the fish market, behind the garage and toilets at the Soma market as horrible sites in terms of environmental sanitation, and urge urgent action.
“There are not enough toilets and rubbish bins, which means that all those who cannot afford the cost of garbage collection will hide behind the shade of the night to illegally dispose of their waste on the habitation and work places,” he lamented.
In their efforts to create a lasting solution to the illegal dumping and the poor waste management activities in the region, he said, key stakeholders such as NEA, NDMA, and Health department will decide with the Mansakonko Area Council to come up with initiatives to capacities the council to further the awareness campaign.