By Lamin Cham
Residents of Kotu have raised alarm over the ongoing massive dumping of car tyres at a former quarry in the middle of the settlement. A senior citizen resident in the area reported that in recent days truckloads of motor tyres are offloaded at the quarry, apparently for disposing by the Kanifing Municipal Council. “We are worried that the KMC is transferring the massive pollution problem from Bakoteh dumpsite to Kotu which is more populated than Bakoteh.
These substances get burnt by themselves naturally with destructive effect on the health of the people living in the surroundings,” our source said.
The Standard also understood that the concerned persons have sought explanation from the NEA where an official reportedly explained that they are aware of the KMC’s intention to use the place for burying tires until a recycling facility is available but they have demanded a plan from the municipality which is still pending.
Lamin Sanyang, director of services at KMC, said the council has been working with the NEA and the NDMA on how to save the heaps of old tires at Bakoteh from catching fire. “An NEA official visited the Bakoteh dumpsite and saw the danger posed by the massive pile of old tyres in case of them catching fire. After visiting the Kotu site, we concurred that we supply a plan on how to manage the tires at Kotu but in the meantime the old tyres continue to be piled at Bakoteh posing further risks. So the plan here is to use the place to bury the tyres until such time that they can be recycled. A contractor has been engaged to transfer the tires to Kotu for burial and he is currently moving machines there to dig and bury the tires. We want to assure the residents that the tyres swill be properly buried and managed safely. We even have a 24-hour security presence at the site as this work goes on,” Mr Sanyang assured.
A senior official of the council said the problem of old tyres is a policy matter that the government has to tackle. “The importation of second-class car tyres has meant that the country is increasingly becoming a dumping ground for old car tires and with no recycling facilities in the Gambia, they have become a nightmare for councils to collect and manage. We have engaged the government at the highest level for the need for legislation to control or stop the importation of second-hand tyres because they are already obsolete on arrival and will soon became garbage in our towns,” our source at KMC said.