By Alagie Manneh
Police have arrested individuals and business operators who deal in the selling and buying of plastic bags.
Despite a legislation banning its use or distribution in 2015, plastic bags continue to inundate Gambian markets and places.
To address these flagrant disregards of the provision, the NEA since last week launched a national exercise and inspection of market places, seizing plastics from shops and stalls and placing a number of defaulters under arrest.
“It is a banned product, but since it is resurfacing, we decided to embark on a vigorous sensitisation to enlighten people on the dangers of or the usage of plastics,” the communications officer of the NEA, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang told The Standard.
He said those who are bent on the using and selling plastics have no regard for the laws of the land.
“If you are asked to refrain from plastic usage and you refused and eventually got arrested, whose fault is that? We have to respect our laws.”
There are those who accused the inspectors and police of heavy-handedness, but Mr Sanyang said the exercise was done with the highest regard for the rule of law, and respect for all.
“We were decent and respectful,” he added.
He explained that in one instance during the exercise, a particular shopkeeper attempted to slap a police officer. “The man wanted to slap the officer for asking him to bring out plastics hidden in his shop. More arrests will be made. Defaulters will be prosecuted, including those who have stockpiled these.”
The Authority embarked on a number of sensitisations and the launching of campaigns and programmes to discourage plastic usage, however, not much progress has been made.
“Since 2015 to date, we have ben educating on the health impacts of plastic pollution. We have sponsored shows and even invited Jaliba to do a song on the dangers associated with plastic.”