By Mafugi Ceesay
Kanifing mayor Talib Bensouda has told journalists that the minister of lands, Musa Drammeh, has been giving deaf years to his council’s request for the relocation of the Bakoteh dumpsite.
“Over the past three years, I have written to the Minister of Lands and Regional Government appealing for action to identify an alternative site for the development of a sanitary landfill. On March 16th, 2020, I requested the minister to allocate an alternative land for dumping. Again, on November 2nd, 2020, I warned the minister about the Bakoteh dumpsite reaching capacity and the need to identify an alternative site. But the minister never replied to any of my letters,” he revealed.
He recollected that in May 2018 during the Meet the People Tour, President Barrow promised to establish a taskforce for the relocation of the dumpsite but that not much has been done since.
Mr Bensouda explained that when he came to office in 2018, he was fully aware that Bakoteh dumpsite was the greatest challenge facing his municipality. “Since then, it has become clear that Bakoteh dumpsite is a problem without borders. Last week’s fire and its smoke shows that Bakoteh dumpsite is a national issue that is not confined to Kanifing municipality,” he said.
He said his office is committed to working through the Inter-Municipal Committee on Waste Management, along with Banjul City Council, under the chair of the permanent sectary of the ministry of lands, to establish the technical requirements of an alternative location. The committee has shortlisted potential locations and conducted site visits on the matter. The recommendations of the Inter-Municipal Committee required immediate action from the ministry of lands.
Mayor Bensouda called on Minister Drammeh to take immediate action to allocate an alternative location within the Greater Banjul Area for the development of a sanitary landfill in order to enable the complete closure of Bakoteh dumpsite.
“Waste management is not a political issue; it is a national issue. I encourage all concerned community members to show their support and add their voice to ensure that the government of The Gambia treats the closure of Bakoteh dumpsite as a national issue,” the mayor urged
He added: “I sincerely sympathise with you about the adverse impact of the dumpsite on you and your families. I am committed to finding a solution that will close Bakoteh dumpsite in the shortest possible time. The council is constructing a 3.5 metre tall fence in order to protect children from entering the site and being exposed to its many hazards. The fence will ensure that once the dumpsite is closed, unlawful individuals will not be able to enter or dump at the site.”