#Article (Archive)

NEA trains customs, security officers on detection and management of ozone depleting substances

Oct 18, 2011, 1:58 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The National Environment Agency (NEA) recently held a three-day training workshop for security enforcement agents on the detection, control and management of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

They included officials from customs, police, immigration, NIA, and the National Drug Enforcement Agency.

Speaking on the occasion, Momodou B. Kanteh, director of Technical Service Network (TSN) at the NEA, said the Gambia government is showing firm commitment to phase out the consumption and production of ODS by 2010, by having ratified both the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

He said the ozone layer is the primary protection the earth has from the harmful rays of the sun, as the UV-B radiation from the sun has an adverse effects on human and animal health, marine and terrestrial eco-systems. It can also cause diseases such as skin cancer, eye cataract, and the destruction of the immune system.

Kanteh however disclosed that the continuous emission of Chloro-Fluoro-Carbons (CFCs), Halons and Methyl Bromide would deplete the ozone layer and this will result more severe environmental and health problems.

He stressed that the NEA and the government have over the years taken giant steps towards the reduction and ultimate elimination of ODS through a number of measures.

By the end of the training, according to Kanteh, participants were expected to clearly understand what ozone and ozone depletion is all about and would understand the reason they must join the rest of the world to protect the ozone layer by phasing out CFCs.

Abdou Jeng, a senior customs officer and also the trainer, called on colleagues in the security to lead the fight against the smuggling and illegal entry of these depleting substances into the country.

He said the training would strengthen the capacity of enforcement agents to enhance proper identification and detection of ODS at the points of entry and or during circulation within our towns and villages.

The three-day training, which attracted over 20 participants from North Bank and Lower River regions, was one of programmes conducted and organised by the NEA for security officers and refrigeration technicians throughout the country.

Alhagie Sarr, ODS programme officers at the NEA, said The Gambia ratified the Copenhagen and London Amendments to the Montreal Protocol in 1992 and 1995 respectively.

Mr. Sarr therefore urged participants to take the training seriously and disseminate the knowledge and skills gained from it to others who didn’t have the opportunity to attend.

Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, NEA`s Environmental Education and Communication Officer, said nature is at conflict with mankind, and therefore appealed  to participants to use environmentally friendly activities and devices to make the planet earth the only suitable and lasting home for generation yet unborn.

NBR Regional Environment officer Ndenneh Nying expressed similar sentiments as did Mr Sanyang while urging participants to take ownership of the environment to propel holistic attitudinal change.