Communities trained to recycle waste into useful materials

By Kebba Jeffang

Concern Universal-The Gambia has launched a Waste Innovation Centre in Brikama, West Coast Region (WCR) on Saturday, 15th August, 2015 to train local people on recycling waste into useful materials.

Speaking, Mr. Tony Jonsen, Country Director-Concern Universal, said the area council asked them for support in this area. He said they lamented the huge waste products that are generated on a daily basis due to the populous nature of the region. He said in reaction to that appeal, his NGO felt the necessity of the call and they decided to give their support.

However, he said due to issues of financial resources and expertise they could not come to their aid until now. He noted that recycling waste products such as nylon bags requires expertise and fortunately the Waste Aid in the UK will be providing an expert to train the local people such as the women.

“We have been helping people particularly women and poor people in the Gambia. Now that many women are well trained, it becomes a source of employment for them because they can go and collect plastic bags and saw-dust and turn them into charcoal,” said the Country Rep.

He noted that the responsibility of maintaining the initiative is a duty of all and assured that there will be a replication in the other regions if WCR has registered success.

Mr. Mike Webster, the West Aid-UK Consultant and the trainer, said it has been a tense responsibility to see the initiative through but added that it is successful. He noted for the past five months, he has been teaching his trainees on how to turn the waste products such as fish wastes into fertilizer and plastic bags, mango and saw dust into charcoal which, he said, is currently hitting the market.

“These are the ways in which waste can turn to wealth. It is an entrepreneurial work for many people,” said Waste Management expert.

Mr. Malang Saibo Sanneh, Chairman of Brikama Area Council (BAC), for his part, described the gesture as important. He said it is the mandate of the Council to provide and protect the environmental health of its people, adding that recycling of waste into something good is meaningful.

“This Council has lots of people with many activities on a daily basis creating an increasing waste generation. Some areas of the council particularly, fish landing communities generate more waste products. Clinical wastes are also on the increase but with this initiative, the waste will be contained easily,” said the BAC Chairman.

Mr. Salimina Jobe, NEA official, said the initiative would not only create employment for local women and the youth but will importantly contribute positively towards climate change. He said it will reduce dependency on tree cutting for charcoal and there will be no burning of certain products that can have effect in the climate system. He said it will also increase waste collection which can ensure a clean environment.

Kadijatou Sowe of Women Initiative-The Gambia (WIG) also spoke.