By Aji Fatou Faal
The National Assembly Select Committee on Environment, Sustainable Development and NGOs Affairs recently went on a fact-finding mission nationwide to assess and gather firsthand information on the environment and also inspect various sites under their purview.
The tour has helped members to be well informed to enable them identify key priority areas of environment and also meet various authorities responsible for the protection of the environment. The committee also met with communities that are prone to risks of hazard and pollution, dumping sites both legal and illegal sites. The first site visited during the tour was Barra Car Park dumping site.
Sainey Touray, NAM for Jarra East and Chairman of the Environment Committee told the transport authorities they are out to monitor two things namely environmental hazards and their impact on the population which fall within their oversight functions as parliamentarians.
He stressed over a mass wastage dumped behind the Barra Car Park as an eye sore and very adjacent to the people and has some health and environmental hazards to the citizenry and would also contaminate the sea water.
The Members of the Committee were escorted by the Kerewan Area Council officials to where their tractor was stationed at the site and the Committee members were shocked by the amount of waste thrown on the ground.
Seedy Touray, CEO of Kerewan Area Council said that the council lacks the manpower to dispose waste and youths are not willing to work in such places. According to him, the main dumpsite is Berending Quarry which is about 10km away from there.
Assan Busso, Secretary General of Barra Transport Workers Association said that the dumpsite is near to the car park and the waste is not regularly collected, adding that the toilets are also not in good condition.
According to him, the dumpsite is very adjacent to the ferry terminal which is the first entry port of the country.
The Select Committee proceeded to Albreda\ Juffureh River side where inhabitants told the committee that the sea is swallowing up the land and the CFAO Building Slave House was newly refurbished and the community rice fields were also lost. The Committee then visited the Berending Quarry dumpsite and Darsilameh Salt Mining Site.