By Madiba Singhateh
The National Environment Agency on Thursday 22nd December 22022, held a national dialogue with Muslim and Christian religious leaders at NANA conference hall in Bakau, on environmental quality laws. The national dialogue is meant to build the capacity of religious leaders as change agents, on environmental laws in order to make a positive influence on people’s behavior towards the environment. The training according NEA officials, will center on various environmental legislation but more on the ban on plastics Order of 2015 and the Anti-littering Regulation of 2007.
Speaking at the training, Borry Colley, Environment Quality Program Office at the NEA thanked the participation of the Imams and Reverends for attending.
“It will not be a one way discussion but an interactive one that will enable us go very far in enhancing the environment as a life support system which if degraded, life degrades and if life degrades, the country degrades and we all know what that means,” he said. He said the discussion will enhance and strengthen the partnership and uniqueness of the environment in religions. That it does not matter how many people attend a meeting or a workshop, but who contributes and who goes back with the most important point to their communities and further collaborate to disseminate the information with all those who living in the Gambia.
In giving his opening statement, NEA Director Dawda Badjie, said the issue of the environment is a collective responsibility and over the years, the environmental destruction has almost taken lives globally as well as nationally. That in this regard, it is important to involve all stakeholders to a discussion on how to take care of our environment.
According to Dr. Badjie, collective responsibility in a sense means that “we” as people, are responsible for polluting the environment in our homes, offices and in the streets, that we should be accountable for destroying the environment. He said as religious leaders they are important in society because people listen and resort to them for solutions to their problems; that for these roles in any society, can play important roles in addressing issues related to environmental pollution.
Dr. Badjie said the problem about environment pollution is the fact he does not know the polluter and the recipient. So if anyone is seen pouring toxic materials in a particular area and believes that it does not matter to them, that pollution may one day end up in the river and the fish that feed on it may be eaten by the person who neglected the person who poured the toxic material close to his are. He said the issues of sniper pesticides and the uproar it created was because somebody somewhere did not use it properly.
He urged the Imams and Reverends to use the sensitization workshop to be able to talk to people about environmental pollution.
Dr. Badjie also reminded them of the hazards of environmental pollution which in turn causes climate change impacts such as the massive floods and loss of property that came with it in this year’s rainy season, and the windstorm that hit the country two years ago.