Sunday, July 12, 2020

Garbage heap forces closure of old yundum schools

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By Kebba Secka

Schools in Old Yundum have temporarily closed due to unbearable stench from garbage heap in the environment.

Speaking to this medium, the head teacher of the Upper Basic School, Alasana Jobe said the market vendors turned the school environment to a dumpsite. He said vendors dump garbage in the area in broad daylight. He said due to the unbearable stench and smoke that was coming out from the dumpsite, the heads of the two schools thought it necessary to temporally close down while the authorities work to resolve the problem.

“When they lit the heap and the smoke becomes unbearable and hazardous to our health, I went to the head of the lower basic school to discuss the next step forward. After our discussion, we agreed to first call the Cluster Monitor who authorised us to close temporarily,” said the Principal of the Upper Basic.

The head teacher of the lower basic also echoed similar remarks, adding that a letter was written to the Director of Education in the West Coast Region to inform them what necessitated the temporal closure of the schools and made recommendations for them to assist through concerned authorities to immediately collect the waste and take steps to prevent recurrence. The two leaders said there was no formal reply from the regional office, but on Wednesday there was a meeting between the National Environment Agency and the community on how to resolve the problem so that teaching and learning can continue. They said an MoU was reached between stakeholders in that meeting from which the NEA officials gave order for arrest of anyone found dumping in the area for prosecutions, although this reporter did not see any injunction notice pegged at the site to deny dumping.

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Mbye Jabbo, a VDC member and also a school management committee member of the lower basic confirmed that teaching and learning is affected by the smoke while calling for attitudinal change from vendors. On how to find a suitable ground for dumpsite, Mbye said a new place has been identified for dumping waste. This reporter toured the classrooms at the upper basic and observed presence of few students. At the lower basic school teaching and learning have not begun yet as teachers and pupils still stay at home.

Foroyaa will enquire from the Brikama Area Council, which is responsible for the collection and management of waste for their take on this matter.

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