By Olimatou Coker
With the objective of strengthening urban governance capacity of Banjul City Council (BCC) by developing efficient public services and a future-proof programme for the capital, City Link Ostend Banjul project in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank, the West African Birds Study Association (WABSA) and other partners joined the rest of the globe last weekend to mark International Peace Day, a part of which includes International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD).
The commemoration was held at the Atlantic Beach in Banjul, and it attracted over 200 volunteers. The City Link Ostend-Banjul partnership for sustainable city development is being funded by EU under the 2018 Europe Aid dubbed ‘Authorities: Partnership for Sustainable Cities’.
Speaking, Chuks Ugha, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, who partnered the initiative, said they were happy to team up with the organisers to mark such a day.
“Throwing wastes like plastics, non-degradable materials into the ocean is not healthy, as it does not help beaches and tourism, not even promotes eco-tourism,” he said.
The Deputy Mayor of Banjul, Omar B Touray, encouraged the youth to take ownership of the project, and thanked EU for the support.
Maimuna Treira, the outreach coordinator for Clean Earth Gambia, expressed her delight in seeing young volunteers at the forefront participating in the ICCD.
However, she encouraged all would-be users of the beach to always take good care of the environment.
Johan Scherrens, Ostend City project coordinator, stated: “The project is aimed at strengthening the Banjul City Council to implement participatory, good governance practices and to involve Banjulians to work with the councilors in bringing about positive changes in the city.”
He added that they want to create “a lot of opportunities” for youths, especially in areas such as business, culture, music, and arts.
Mr Scherrens blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for putting their works on ice but was optimistic that with time, their pending works will be completed.
Under the project, thousands of coconut trees were planted along the beaches of Banjul. The aim is to prevent coastal erosion and to mitigate rising sea levels.