updated 6:40 PM MST, Dec 17, 2017
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News Updates (62)

NEA briefs Journalists on Plastic Bags Ban

The National Environment Agency recently briefed journalists on the Ban on Plastic Bags Order 2015. Speaking on the occasion, the Executive Director of National Environment Agency (NEA), Momodou J. Suwareh, said in The Gambia, plastic bags pollution was causing severe environmental and health damages through various pathways in the marine ecosystem.

He disclosed that plastic bags that find their way into water bodies cause the death of juvenile fish and other marine species by entanglement. On land, he added that plastic bags destroy soil structure by reducing aeration and root penetration, hence threatening soil fertility and crop production.

Mr Suwareh said in the livestock sector, plastic bags caused death of livestock when swallowed or ingested, hence, causing huge economic loss to farmers.

“These problems threaten among other things our food security,” he said, adding that the plastic bags do not decompose.

According to Mr. Suwareh, most plastic wastes find their way into gutters and waterways; hence, it causes blockage and subsequent flooding disaster.

He said when plastic bags are burnt, the process of burning releases dangerous chemicals such as dioxins and furans causing cancer, skin disease, eye cataract and respiratory problems.

Mr Suwareh added that plastic bags are often misused by putting hot foods like Ebbeh, Café Touba etc. adding that this causes the release of the chemical content of the plastic into the food, hence, causes long term health problems.

The Government of The Gambia joined the list of countries that banned plastic bags effective 1st July 2015, and prohibits the import and manufacture, sale and the use of the plastic bags.

He disclosed that the Ban on Plastic Bags Order 2015 is a legal document that prohibits the manufacture, import, sales and use of plastic bags in the country.

The Programme Officer for Environmental Education & Communication at the NEA, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, revealed that it was estimated that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used globally each year. 

Author: Yai Dibba

 

The Point Newspaper

 

Communities to take ownership of 38 state forests

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources and its line department would soon transfer 38 state forests to community ownership across the country.  

According to forestry officials, at least thirty-eight communities have been recommended to take ownership of their community forests.

Speaking to reporters, Cherno Gaye, head of the Participatory Unit at the Department of Forestry, said what the ministry and its line department are doing now was a process.

He said by Gazette, a notice book indicated that 38 communities that have been in the forest community management process are qualified to take over their community forest reserve.

According to Mr Gaye, before the handing over took place, there was a process and it had to pass through legal process, and now confirmed that all these communities are qualified to gain their community forest reserve.

Mr Gaye disclosed that those forest reserves are now declared in the gazette notices as community forests.

He thanked the Ministry of Justice and all others who have contributed in one way or the other in making the process to reach this stage.

“We are also encouraging those communities who are in the process to tell them that one day they will also gain their forest ownership,” he said.

Source: Abdoulie Nyockeh

 

The Point Newspaper

NDMA Celebrates Disaster Risk Reduction Day

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), under the Office of the Vice-President over the weekend celebrated International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction.

The day is celebrated each year on 13th October worldwide and the theme for this year’s celebration is, “Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement.” The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated each year to promote the culture of disaster reduction, prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The Governor of Lower River Region attended the event, held at Jarra in Soma Lower River Region, together with the chiefs of the area and the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, who represented the Vice-President.

In his remarks at the occasion, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Hon. Lamin Dibba said that The Gambia was vulnerable to a range of natural and human induced disasters; hence a national approach to managing risk was appropriate and necessary.

He said that as the country’s population grows, they have experienced an increase in the frequency, magnitude and impact of extreme weather conditions, such as drought and flood.

“Many waste products like glass, plastics, aluminium and paper could be recycled instead of being disposed off in the dustbin,” he pointed out, adding that this would prevent any air pollution accumulated through burning of these wastes.

“You can use towels and reusable bags rather than using disposal plastic bags that can block our water way, leading to flooding and consequent displacement of individuals and communities,” he explained.

According to the Minister, planting of food locally helps in reducing the overall commercial transportation of food items that requires pesticides and preservatives to preserve them.

“It is also a proven fact that organic food is more healthy than the one which is preserved by using harmful pesticides and chemicals, thereby, causing harm to the entire global ecosystem,” he said.

The Governor of LRR, Madam Fanta Samateh Bojang, disclosed that the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has put in place a good number of measures that include, among others, developed crucial policy programmes, all geared towards addressing disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.

She said through effective coordination, collaboration, sensitisation and advocacy, the communities would be fully informed about the dangers associated with disasters.

The Executive Director of NDMA, Sanna Dahaba, also said that "Home Safe Home" is the slogan for this year’s celebration, adding that this was an opportunity to mobilise the world to strengthen collaboration with all stakeholders.

“We can reduce the risks that stem from rapid urbanisation, poverty, environmental deterioration and climate change,” he pointed out, adding that they need to avoid the creation of risks in the first place.

This, he further added, would require massive sensitisation, increased access to risk information and ability to identify community risks and build a culture of collective actions to improve resilience.

 

Author: Abdoulie Nyokeh

 

The Point Newspaper

NEA Validates Mercury Inventory Report

The National Environment Agency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources recently validated the Mercury Inventory Report under the umbrella of the Minamata Convention at the Baobab Holiday Resort, in Bijilo.

In November 2016, The Gambia government joined the list of countries that ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, aimed at protecting human health and the environment from anthropogenic mercury pollution.

Mercury is recognised globally as a substance producing significant adverse neurological and other health effects. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hon. Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr. Lamin Dibba, said the chemical revolution of the last century has changed lives and contributed greatly to the well-being of humanity.

 “We have many reasons to be grateful to the chemical industry worldwide for its contribution in the production of a wide range of chemical products,” he declared.

He said without chemicals, it would not have been possible to feed the growing population, to find cures for diseases and to discover new materials that make lives easier, safer and more productive.

Chemicals are now part of daily existence, he said, adding that they contribute in many ways to sustainable development and are beneficial in elevating and maintaining high standard of living for people.

He said mercury has recently been identified globally as a substance producing significant adverse neurological and other health effects, with particular concerns about its harmful effects on unborn children and infants.

The global transport of mercury in the environment was a key reason for global decision and action to address the problem of mercury pollution.

He divulged that the government of The Gambia had joined the list of countries that ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in November 2016.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a major international initiative in minimizing and controlling the harmful effects of mercury pollution on the environment in general.

The objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

 He announced that the Government of The Gambia recognises the importance of sound chemicals management, and as a result, was one of the first signatories to the Convention in 2013, and also among the first fifty countries that have ratified the Convention.

Currently, over 128 countries have signed the Minamata Convention and over 70 countries have already ratified it, he revealed.

 For his part, the acting Executive Director of National Environment Agency, Momodou Jama Suwareh, said between 1953 and 1960, 43 people died and many more were incapacitated by the Minamata disease.

He said the tragedy was particularly severe in the fishing industry, because fishing was an important industry in Minamata, noting that fish is a staple protein food for the human community.

He said mercury and compounds containing mercury are toxic for human and for the environment.

Human activity, particularly since the start of the industrial age, has mobilised mercury, in addition to the one already in circulation naturally.

“Mercury is easily transported by air and water in its gaseous elemental form,” he said, adding that mercury has long atmospheric lifetime 6-18 months, hence, its characterisation as a global pollutant. 

Author: Yai Dibba

 

The Point Newspaper

NEA, FAO Convene National Inception Stakeholders’ Workshop on SHPFs

The National Environment Agency (NEA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) recently convened a stakeholders’ workshop on monitoring of Severely Hazardous Pesticides Formulations (SHPFs) in The Gambia.

The workshop was part of FAO’s global project of strengthening capacities to monitor and report severely hazardous pesticide formulation.

The main objective was to assist parties in their efforts to meet their obligation in the implementation of the Rotterndam Convention and to specially strengthen capacities to monitor and report on SHPF.

 The monitoring survey would target Upper River Region, North Bank Region and West Coast Region.  

 Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the Baobab Resort in Bijilo, the FAO country representative, Madam Kalala, said the initiative could not have come at a better time than now when The Gambia is putting lots of efforts towards resilience building against the impacts of climate change and variability amongst its increasing population, through the promotion of increased agricultural production and productivity for food security, improved nutrition and poverty alleviation, amongst others.

She said, according to the Rotterdam Convention, there has been increasing growth in chemical production and trade during the past three decades raising both public and official concerns about the potential risks posed by hazardous chemicals and pesticides.

According to her, this becomes more alarming for vulnerable countries that lack adequate infrastructure to monitor the import and use of these chemicals.

She said SHPFs may pose significant risks to human health or the environment, because risk reduction measures, such as the use of personal protective equipment or maintenance and calibration of pesticide application equipment are not easily implemented or are not effective.

Madam Kalala further said that recognising these constraints and the fact that pesticide risk reduction is one of the priority areas in FAO’s pesticide management programme; FAO has signed an agreement with the National Environment Agency (NEA) for the monitoring of severely hazardous pesticide formulations.

The proposed activities in this project would support The Gambia in improving capacities for the collection of information on SHPFs, she said.

It would also help to identify and raise awareness of particularly hazardous pesticides and practices, in order to strengthen community responses and regulatory decisions with respect to the reduction of risk from SHPFs, she stated.

For his part, the acting Executive Director of National Environment Agency, Momodou Jama Suwareh, said the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, was adopted in 1998 and it entered into force in 2004. He explained that the objective of the convention was meant to foster a shared responsibility to protect human health and the environment.

According to him, The Gambia Government, in partnership with development partners, such as EU, GEF and FAO have implemented and continue to implement important projects, all geared towards sound chemical management.

The Gambia, he said, has recognised the need and over the years taken steps towards the development of an institutional framework for sound chemical management.

“The Gambia is a typical agricultural country with 70% of the workforce engaged in the agricultural sector with farmers depending heavily on the use of these pesticides,” he said.

He said during the use of these pesticides most farmers do not observe preventive measures, and are therefore, exposed to health risks; hence the need to monitor the health and environmental impacts of these pesticides.

He disclosed that The Gambia is one of the few countries in the sub-region that benefited from the grant of a pilot project, which aimed at building capacity across the country, identifying and raising awareness on particularly hazardous pesticide and practice, in order to strengthen community responses and regulatory decision with respect to the reduction of risk from SHPFs.  

Author: Yai Dibba

The Point Newspaper

 

 

Parks and Wildlife Plants Mangrove Along Bintang Bolong

The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM), in collaboration with Sahel Wetland and communities of Kalagi Jifarong, Bondali and Brikama Ndinding, recently conducted a two-day mangrove planting in various parts of Bintang Bolong estuary. The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management’s technical team supervised the planting.

Speaking at the event, Kawsu Jammeh of Parks and Wildlife said while they are restoring mangroves, they must also recognised as conservationists to provide landing and feeding areas for water birds and habitat for mud crabs.

According to Mr Jammeh, The Gambia has quiet and good representative birds, reptiles, butterflies, insects, fishes and mammals that could be attractive to tourists.

“There is no more stock you can find anywhere except in and around protected areas,” he said.

 “We do not have to wait until the forest disappears completely,” he said, adding that they must endeavour to restore the wetland because they need a healthy environment to continue to support the necessary goods and services for both the wellbeing of the present and future generations.  

Author: Yai Dibba

 

The Point Newspaper

Environmental Protection Is Critical to Socio-Economic Development

Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, Program Officer for Environmental Awareness & Communication at the National Environment Agency ((NEA) has said that environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management is critical to the socio-economic development of the country as the population depends on it for her livelihoods. He therefore, called for positive attitudinal change from all and sundry in their daily environmental dispensations. He recently made these remarks at his Kanifing office during an exclusive interview with this paper.

He appealed for people to take responsibility of the destiny of their environment, while disclosing that the Government of The Gambia formulated the Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP) in 1991 to set guidelines within which all the environment and natural resource sectors of The Gambia are required to operate.The GEAP, he said provides the basic framework for a sound and sustainable management of the Gambia’s environment and natural resources as well as increased environmental awareness for effective public participation in sustainable environmental management.

The transfer of knowledge to our young school children in particular and the public at large on sound environmental management and sustainable development guarantees a healthy environment for everyone. He pointed out that environmental protection needs holistic efforts from all walks of life in order to achieve any national sustainable development agenda, citing that it can trigger active popular participation for the Operation Clean the Nation (OCN) locally called Set-Settal and now called National Cleansing Day (NCD), Ban on Plastic Bags, Anti-littering Regulations and their social benefits, as they are designed to create a positive image of the country, boost tourism, reduce the incidence of vector-borne diseases especially Malaria, and contribute to the country`s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Calling for the incorporation of environmental issues into all spheres of our development sectors, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang described school children as agents of change and promised to continue collaborating and building capacities of their stakeholders. He added that the Agency`s Schools Environment Outreach Programme, aims to inculcate environmental education and skills into the young school going children for them to serve as agents of change, as they are our future leaders. He also called for a concerted effort from parents, religious & traditional leaders, local authorities, communities and communicators in creating a better environment for our unborn future generation.


Responding to circumstances surrounding the recent non holding of the twice monthly Operation Clean the Nation, Sanyang announced that no sooner than later the exercise would resume with new vigor, design and format. He disclosed that the non holding of such cleansing exercise has enormous but serious negative impacts on both human health and the environment, and therefore, called on them to apply the three Rs (Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle) waste generated before dumping.


“Cleanliness is next to godliness”, said Alkinky Sanyang while calling for a positive attitudinal change in the management, maintenance & monitoring of the environment.

 

By Fatou Gassama

 

Daily Observer

Gov’t Strikes US$79M Waste Management Deal

Continental Africa, a US-based company recently signed an MoU with The Gambia government under which the company has pledged to commit some US$79 million towards a waste management project.


Speaking to journalists, Samuel Biwosi, the Chief Executive Officer of the company said all what they are asking from the Gambia government is to provide land for the project. “The project is all about recycling waste products into energy; all the municipalities would be involved so that they can come to an agreement to implement the project and we want to work in partnership with government to solve the problem of Africa,” the CEO added.
He also highlighted the company’s reason for choosing the Gambia among the African countries for this multi million dollar pilot project.

 
“There are a couple of reasons for choosing The Gambia for this pilot project, because when we came here, we looked at the strategic location of The Gambia for the project and also its access to international market and a gateway to all the Ecowas member countries. The Gambia is at a point where it needs to have access to all these markets,” he said.

 
He also said the project will help The Gambia’s energy sector a lot which is important for any development to take place. Mr Biwosi recalled that after having consultation with the authorities of the local energy company, NAWEC, on the major challenges facing the company, with a view to help overcome the problem of energy which paved way to the conceptionalistion of this project.

By Baba Sillah

Standard Newspaper

 

 

US$8.4m Project Targets 12,800 Households In URR

A project grant from the African Development Bank to the tune of US$8.4 million is targeted to benefit 12,800 households in the Upper River Region (URR).

This was disclosed to this paper by Dr Famara Bulli Sanyang, project Director of the Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (AVCDP) under the Central Project Coordinating Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The project expected to last five years, started from 2016 and ends December 2020.

Speaking in an interviewed with this paper at his office in Banjul, Mr Sanyang said AVCDP is a small project within the Ministry of Agriculture which is designed for the development of rice value chain in Upper River Region and livestock value chain in poultry scheme and small ruminants as well as intervention in cattle areas.

According to Mr Sanyang, URR was one of the poverty stricken areas, hence the project had come to contribute to alleviate poverty, provide food, and nutrition security as well as create employment.

Mr Sanyang further said AVCDP would also develop five hundred (500) hectares and at least two (2) crops set per season, adding that the project would also develop pumping irrigation.

He announced that AVCDP would also support the farmers with inputs like tractors, seeders, threshers, power tillers, fertilizers, as well as to engage more women and youth in production.

 He indicated that the idea was to provide the youths with machineries so that they could manage it as a group and make income generation a revolving one so that it could be sustainably managed.

 Mr Sanyang further added that the project would provide storage facilities, seeds among other inputs, explaining that the project management team was also tasked to identify entrepreneurs who would assess the amount of rice to be produced in the Upper River Region.

He said the aim was to ensure that the private person could go and buy all the rice and add value to it as well as do all the marketing strategic; labeling, packaging, storage and then resell it as Gambia rice.

He pointed out that the project could not do the marketing but would try to facilitate and encourage it to linkup farmers and agri-business such as NEDI, GIEPA, among other business companies.

With regard to livestock, Mr Sanyang divulged that the AVCDP would develop fifty (50) poultry schemes in Upper River Region.

He disclosed that one of the expectations from the project was that the yield of rice production would be increased and also poultry fattening would be increased.

He explained that the overall objective of the project is to contribute to national food and nutrition security, create employment and improve income generation activities, particularly in URR as well as other parts of the country.

Author: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Point Newspaper

 

 

WAAPP 3rd Technical Regional Steering Committee Meeting Wraps Up In Banjul

A three-day forum of West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) 3rd technical regional steering committee ended recently at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul.

The sub regional meeting which brought together participants from various ECOWAS member states was organized by CORAF and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture through the Central Project Coordinating Unit (CPCU).

 In delivering a speech, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sait Drammeh, said the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAAP) is a regional programme implemented by thirteen (13) ECOWAS countries with the possibility of including new ones.

According to him, at the 9th regional steering committee meeting held in Nigeria in November 2016, The Gambia was selected, and unanimously supported by member countries to host the 3rd technical meeting of regional steering committee.

He disclosed that the Government of The Gambia through the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance and Economic Affairs would submit an expression of interest to the World Bank through CORAF/WECARD to be included in the planned second phases of WAAPP to be referred to as West Africa Agricultural Transformation Programme.

The Government of The Gambia would like to thank CORAF/WECARD and ECOWAS for the continued support towards its national agricultural development agenda and called for further strengthening of the existing collaboration.

In his statement, the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Omar Jallow, said the implementation of the 1st WAAPP has enabled the generation and dissemination of improved technologies of 30 per cent increase for cereals and 20 per cent for roots and tubers.

The system of rice intensification, research, infrastructure and human capacity have been augmented and strengthened, he said.

He disclosed that national centers of specialisation and regional centers of excellence have been established, adding that it has harmonized seed system for West Africa that has enabled cross border improve seed trade to take shape.

However, he added that, West and Central Africa were still facing important challenges with respect to providing adequate food for a growing urban population.

The climate change phenomenon which threatens to undermine sustainability of gains made by WAAPP added to the aforementioned makes it more complicated.

He pointed out that this particular steering committee technical session comes at a very important turning point for CORAF and ECOWAS in partnership with the World Bank.

The proposed transition from a production and productivity approach to a more holistic West Africa Agricultural Transformation programme would enable the next phase of the project to address the challenges along the agricultural value chain and consolidate the emerging market linkages opened up in the first phase of the project. 

Author: Yai Dibba

 

The Point Newspaper

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