Sanatorium Patients decry smoke and odour from dumpsite

By Sailu Bah

TB and asthma patients at the Edward Francis Small Sanatorium grievedA cloud of smoke hoves the sanatorium over the problems they face from the smoke and odour coming from the dump site at mile 2 in Banjul.

In an interview with this reporter who visited the Sanatorium on Saturday 19th July 2014, a patient by the name Bakary Bia said that the smoke coming from the dump site disturbs them a lot which he said is not good for their health. He said sometimes when the smoke is too much they find it difficult to breath properly, adding they sometimes go near the high way just to get fresh air to breath normally and that is not safe for others who are living there as the diseases they are have is transmittable. He also complained about the odour coming from the dump site and makes the environment so uncomfortable to live in.

“We are patients who need a very healthy, isolated and comfortable environment so as to recover from our sickness very quickly without any disturbance from any human activity,” says Mr Bia.

Another patient, Gibril Bojang, also reiterated the comments made by Mr Bia and further said the smoke comes out continuously, both at day and night. He said sometimes the smoke will be so much within the vicinity to the extent that the doctors will ask them to go inside or move away from the place in order to avoid breathing in the polluted air. Mr Gibril added that sometimes at night when electricity goes off they suffer a lot as a result of inhaling the smoke. He said the smoke do enter their houses at night and make it very difficult for them to breathe when there is no electricity, adding that it gets better when electricity is available because as the fans are rotating the smoke gets minimized.

Ismaila Bah, another patient said others burn car tyres at the dumpsite so as to generate income from it. These car tyres he said bring the most dangerous smoke to their place. Mr Bah added that the pungent odour coming from the place is very unpleasant and can cause health complications.

Mr Alhagie Mafu Ceesay, the chief matron of the Sanatorium said the problem of smoke has been there for almost 14 years since he came to work there. He said he has contacted by the National Environment Agency to help them remedy the situation, but they asked him to report anyone caught lighting fire there.

He also said that people do come from different places and throw dead animals and rotten fish there which he said produces odour which is not good for the patients who are there for treatment. He added that the smoke coming from the dump site is very hazardous to the people within that environment especially the patients. In most cases when smoke is coming out of the dump site, it follows the wind and pollutes the air, when the wind is coming through their direction it makes breathing very difficult for them, in some instances they advise the patients to go inside their rooms to help them avoid breathing in the polluted air. He also recommend for the Sanatorium to be relocated to another place far from the dump site which he said will be expensive, or the dump site to be relocated to another place far from the sanatorium.