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‘Saving forest is extremely important to mitigate climate change’

Mar 7, 2014, 10:26 AM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

Saving the forest is extremely important to mitigate climate change and for environmental sanitation and soil retention, says Lengja Guenther, chairperson, GreenTech Vision.

She said Gambia has a lot of problems, ranging from soil degradation, decertification and loss of biodiversity.

“So if we can protect our forest with less use of firewood and charcoal then we can have generally healthier environment,” she said at a daylong training of co-group members in Tanji on sales and micro-credit.

Funded by the UNDP Global Environmental Facility (GEF) - Small Grants Programme (SGP), the project is aimed at tackling environmental challenges like deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change and improving livelihoods.

The training was to make the co-groups understand how the project continues when the project intervention finishes.

She said the whole idea about it was not only to have it environmentally, socially sustainable but also financially.

The community would receive a stock of briquettes which they would have to sell on profit so they could restock their sales points, she said.

The meeting will be discussing what sales point they choose, what is the requirement of a sales point, what is the good position of a sales point and what kind of cost involves initially,and operational cost, she explained.

She said the briquettes are made out of 100 percent groundnut cells, which means the people should no more have to bring down the forest for fuel for their daily cooking, as there is an alternative for firewood and charcoal.

“The briquette is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. With this project starting sales points in the communities will help in decentralization process. It also has a social and economic impact positively on the community,” she noted.

She said this is to increase the access of briquette for the general public, because most people do not have access to their plant in Kololi, adding that their target is for people to have access to fuel efficient stove that are compactable with briquettes.

Fatou Jatta, Village Development Committee (VDC), said the importance of the training could not be overemphasised as it would protect them from destroying the forest for the next generation.

She called on the people of Tanji to use the briquette as it would protect them from buying firewood and charcoal and at the same time protect the forest.

“The stove and briquette are more economically friendly than firewood and charcoal; this is because, you can buy firewood and charcoal for D12 or more but this briquette is just D7 and they do the same function and healthwise it’s more advisable,” she said.

Habab Bojang, vice chairman of Tanji Co-group, said their role was to promote the use of stove and the briquettes within the village of Tanji.

He said the stove and briquettes are very important in the fight to protect the environment.

“If you look at our forest now the dependence is very high. Firewood and charcoal, timbers for bed and furniture are all from the forest,” he said.

He added: “If nothing is done, there will be time nothing will be left there and our animals in the forest will not have place to go. This is why GreenTech comes in to avert the situation. They came up with an alternative to the use of firewood and charcoal.”