By Sanna Camara
Back in 2012, a youth-conceived waste management proposed project for the Bakoteh dumpsite has been ignored by the KMC, even though it sought to provide a sustainable solution and proposes a green park at the site instead.
Leadership for Environment and sustainable Development (LEAD) is a global youth network of mid-career professionals that are usually recruited to undergo a fellowship training focusing on building leaders conscious of sustainable development issues, especially the environment.
About a dozen Gambian professionals drawn from agriculture, health, engineering, corporate and private sector, as well as youth groups and the media went through the 6months’ program. 5 made it to graduation and they joined other cohorts from around Africa at a pan African session held in Lilongwe, Malawi, in 2012.
“The solution works through the construction and use of incinerator at the Bakoteh dumpsite that has the capacity to control dumping, reduce the high, indiscriminate burning of waste, control air pollution and reduce health hazards to surrounding settlements,” Games Gibba, an administrator at the Malaria Control Program and one of the Fellows told a meeting with KMC’s experts in 2013.
As part of their project assignments, trainees picked up waste management as one of the biggest concern. They were tasked to research a sustainable solution to this issue which led them into months of research, consultations and interviews for their project named “Samaa Naafa” (future benefits in Mandinka).
“Since mid-2012, consistent writing of letters to the KMC to enable us present the project proposal became impossible until November 2013, when their management referred us to what they said was a technical committee,” said Demba Baldeh, an educationist and another LEAD Fellow.
During the Fellowship program, each country sub-group worked together to identify major environmental challenges in their countries. Topics like plastic waste, coastal erosion, community forestry, efficient energy use in The Gambia were among other issues that came up. However, dumpsite was chosen as the major project due to its closeness to the country’s biggest orphanage and the fact that the municipality hosts almost a third of the country’s population.
The municipality could not effectively tackle the waste challenge of the municipality due to what it blames on the population density of the municipality. Municipality says it spends up to 40% of its revenue on cleansing services.