ECOWAS Commission Donates Tricycles to Environment Ministry

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By Madiba Singhateh

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has handed over 20 tricycles to the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources to enhance waste collection, and contribute towards improving sanitation and environmental health across the country.

In her speech during the handing over ceremony on Saturday, 11 May 2024, Mrs. MassandjeToure-Liste, the Economic Affairs and Agriculture Commissioner of ECOWAS, said waste is not a local issue but a global one.

According to Commissioner Toure, low-income countries accounted for 48% of all waste in cities and 26% in rural areas, while recycled waste accounts for only 4%.

“Managing household waste is a universal problem that concerns every inhabitant of this planet. However, more than 90% of waste burnt or dumped in unauthorized dumpsites still comes from low-income countries, and this is a challenge that we must all address together,” Commissioner Toure said.

Mrs Toure-Liste added that unhygienic conditions are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which could lead to an upsurge in crippling diseases such as malaria and fever.

She said people who live near these huge dumpsites are generally poor urban dwellers who make a living from waste collection and are exposed to severe health risks. She concluded that the tricycles being made available to them by the ECOWAS Commission have a capacity of 2.5 tons and have a proven track record in waste collection.

Speaking at the handing-over ceremony was the Minister of the Environment, Climate Change, and Natural Resources (MECCNAR), Rohey John Manjang, who said waste collection, management, and sustainable disposal mechanisms are central to President Adama Barrow’s government. She said the donated tricycles would enhance waste collection and contribute to addressing waste management challenges, as well as promote cleaner and healthier environments within the capital city of Banjul, the starting point for their operations. She noted that there is no point in having beautiful structures when the environment surrounding them is messy.

She said waste is central to the challenges surrounding climate change and as such, it is important that they do not only collect waste but ensure that this is effectively and efficiently done. She further assured that they will do their best to ensure that in a very short time, every entry point to Banjul and the State House is exceptionally clean and green. She, however, admitted that The Gambia is challenged with waste collection, management, and disposal, and implored Councils who are directly mandated to collect, manage, and dispose of waste to do more. She finally thanked the ECOWAS Commission for taking the lead in giving them solutions to their chronic waste challenge.

The donation of the tricycles is outlined in the memorandum of understanding between ECOWAS and The Republic of The Gambia, and it signifies a tangible commitment to address waste management challenges and promote a cleaner and healthier environment.