By Madiba Singhateh
The communities of Bakoteh / Manjai express their dissatisfaction and disappointment over the recent opening of the dumpsite at the heart of their community.
A committee member at a briefing with journalists recently, Mr. Abubacaar Jeng, who also acts as the spokesperson of the two communities, said after their peaceful protest demanding environmental justice, there was no response or meaningful dialogue with the authorities until 8th July 2017.
Mr. Jeng said the residents of the two communities, Bakoteh and Manjai, wish to convey their dissatisfaction and disappointment to the government of the Gambia for not considering their environment and health concerns for many years.
He said it is evident that the dumpsite has harmed the people for far too long and it is long overdue for action to be taken by the authorities to protect the people from its catastrophic impact.
“It is worth reminding everyone that the site has not only the air and immediate environment that surrounds us, but our ground water, to the extent that the water coming from the well is not fit for anything,’’ he said.
Mr. Jeng said they have for a long time suffered from bad odour due to air pollution for many years, but also road accidents due to visibility problems emanating from dense smoke from burning waste on the site.
“Our children have suffered all kinds of skin infections and chest complications due to this dumpsite. The SOS clinic, school and children’s village has suffered the worst pollution for decades. We have tried from all levels, for our problems to be addressed but it seems, the authorities do not care about our welfare and wellbeing,’’ Mr. Jeng said. He said following the unfortunate incidents that happened between them and the Municipal authorities, they have opened a fresh page of dialogue with government; that they seek to represent themselves as stakeholders in the waste management committee of the dumpsite.
He added that they demand a bulldozer to be regular at the dumpsite to prevent the continuous accumulation of waste, leading to burning etc.
“We kindly seek audience in order for the president of the republic to hear from us, the challenges we the people of Bakoteh have been subjected to for too long,” he said.
He added they will extend their highest appreciation to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources for their concern.
He finally said they will seek for more proactive and quick actions to address the waste problem in their community.