Hon. Ousman Sillah, National Assembly Member (NAM) for Banjul North, is renewing his call for the waste dumpsite at Mile Two in the outskirts of Banjul to be relocated to another area or better managed to eliminate the hazards it is posing to the environment and people.
The Banjul North NAM made this remarks on Sunday morning, 15 March, 2020, while on a visit to the area to assess the environmental impact of the dumpsite on the settlements or facilities in the vicinity.
“I am renewing my constant call on the local government authorities to work with the ministries of regional government and the environment to find a lasting solution for the dumpsite at Mile Two in Banjul to either be relocated or be transformed into a proper waste management and recycling site,” said Hon. Sillah.
The Banjul North lawmaker emphasised that the relocation of this environmentally hazardous dumpsite should be the first option to be explored by the Banjul City Council and the relevant government ministries and agencies.
“Relocation of the dumpsite is necessary and urgent considering the fact that it constantly emits smoke and other toxic elements into the air which affect not only the environment but the patients under treatment at the Sanatorium, the inmates in the prison and the inhabitants settling in the surrounding area,” said the Banjul lawmaker.
Hon. Sillah said this is a matter that should be given top and urgent priority as the smoke and stench that come from the dumpsite, both day and night, compromise the health of patients under treatment at the Sanatorium and expose the inmates incarcerated at the Mile Two prison to respiratory illnesses and other health complications.
“In fact, for me standing here on the trash heap for just few minutes is really suffocating and unbearable, much more for those who have no option other than to stay here and live with the smoke and stench because of hospitalisation or imprisonment,” he added “There are also some inhabitants in the outlying areas whose health is equally a matter of concern for me as a representative.”
The Banjul North NAM even suggested an alternative approach if relocation may be a challenge at the present moment. “The Council and even in partnership with central government can look into instituting a waste management system to recycle the trash for other purposes as ‘Trash is not Waste’ and can be a properly managed economic activity,” he said.
Hon. Sillah said “the old tyres that are burnt to extract the iron for scrap can be used for other decorative or aesthetic purposes at parks, public places, etc. or as guards for tree planting which should now be a nationwide campaign of its own to mitigate global warming.”
The Banjul North lawmaker said he will be formally taking the matter up with both the local and central government authorities for consideration and action.
Mr. Augustus Sanyang, a resident of the area who took the NAM around the perimeter of the dumpsite, said there was a time when the Council had staff posted there and who controlled and managed the dumpsite. He said at the time there was no indiscriminate dumping of waste or the setting of old vehicle tyres alight to get scrap metal which contributes to the dangerous pollution of the environment.
“I am calling on the Council to come up with a plan for the effective management of the dumpsite to eliminate the environmental hazards and generate economic activity if relocating it is presently a challenge,” said Mr. Sanyang.