By Alagie Manneh
Residents and business owners around the Kotu area have reported a significant improvement on the situation of the Aqua sewage dumping pond with the heavy stench now reduced.
Yesterday The Standard which broke a story from complaints of the residents retuned to the area for a follow-up.
Amadou Camara, the human resource manager for Aqua the company managing the pond, said due to relentless pressure they had to go out of their way to find a solution to the problem.
“We wrote to the police and the drivers association to make sure they look at the trucks coming in here. The drivers also assured us they would never go to Gunjur or anywhere else to bring industrial waste here.
We alerted our security and they are very vigilant. We even shifted the dumping place to a place where we could clearly see what type of waste the drivers come with,” Camara said.
He said this new measure ‘disgruntled’ some drivers, especially those involved in the lucrative industrial waste business.
“They are having a lot of money from this Gunjur deal, so to be told that they are not going to dump it here, was bitter for them to swallow,” Camara said
Mahmut Sidat Bittaye, the supervisor of the pretreatment ponds at Aqua, said the going of the bad stench was down to him and his staff and not the management as they claimed.
He criticized the management for its lack of ‘attention and care to the wellbeing and welfare’ of the workers.
He said: “We lacked gloves and other protective gears. This is serious place, serious work.”
Also reacting, Sam Sarr, a former army commander who runs a mechanic shop nearby, said: “We are so happy and now I have no doubt to continue my business. My workers are happy, my clients are coming in. I thank you and everybody who participated in making this a possibility. I didn’t know what they did to rectify this mistake but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”
The manager of Badala Park Hotel, Ebrima Bah, who had also earlier complained of the bad odour, said if the smell level stays where it is now, business will boom.
“This is a very good step,” he said.
A tourist driver, who asked for anonymity, questioned how this was allowed to happen in the first place. He suggested the dumping site be moved away from there.