“Crater is used as dumpsite which causes us health hazards” Say Erinjang-Kotu Residents

By Sailu Bah

Residents living around the Erinjang-Kotu crater are raising concerns overErinjang crater the crater (big pit) that is being used as a rubbish dumpsite.

They complain that the smoke and odour that comes from the rubbish are posing serious health hazards to all those living around the pit, especially their children who go there to play.

Visiting the place on Monday, 1st September 2014, one of the residents, Fatou Senghore told this reporter that the smoke that comes from the burning of plastic or synthetic materials produces pungent odour which sometimes makes breathing difficult. “Sometimes we are compelled to close our doors and windows the whole day in order to avoid this smoke entering into our houses,” she lamented.

She said people from far away places come there to dump their rubbish and then put it on fire thus creating clouds of smoke over them. “The rains have even reduced the smoke. If you were to come here during the dry season, you will see terrible situation. We inhale poisonous smoke throughout this period,” she said.

Madame Senghore said their problem in the rainy season is the mosquitoes as the pit and its pool of water is a breeding ground. “Almost everybody living around here suffers from malaria because of the mosquito bites that we endure both day and night and the children suffer most,” she said.

Albert Sambou, another resident, complained about the people dumping their waste very close to their compound. “People are not only dumping waste inside the pit but some are placing the rubbish outside and very close to our compounds,” he said.

Mr. Sambou called on the municipal authorities to help them address the problem by managing the place.

Therese Jatta, another compound owner, reiterated the concerns raised by the others, adding that all sorts of rubbish are thrown there, including dead animals, which always makes the place stench.

“We have tried a temporal measure in demarcating the dumpsite from our compounds by erecting a fence around the pit. This is meant to prevent people throwing their waste in front of our compounds. Although we have started the project, it has stopped because we lack the funds to complete it,” he disclosed.

He added that the children are the most at risk as they go inside to play in the pit and get themselves exposed to all sorts of diseases and then get sick,” he said.

Commenting on the concerns raised by the Erinjang residents regarding the hazards being posed by the pit, Madam Fatou Sillah, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), said they are aware of the complaints and have even visited the place.

She said the Council has some plans in place for the said dumpsite which will be implemented in due course.

The KMC PRO said people should change their attitudes towards the environment they are living in and take ownership, adding that if this is not done then their efforts will be meaningless.