By Juldeh Njie
Residents of Sinchu Baliya village have raised concern over a dumpsite which is surrounded by a school, a health center and a football field, saying it is jeopardizing their health.
The residents claimed the dumpsite is illegal and that it has been eating into the football pitch for the last four years.
Bai MF Cham, head teacher, Sinchu Baliya LBS said the matter is disturbing because schoolchildren do pass by the dumpsite with food which is hazardous to their health.
“We definitely want this dumpsite to be removed from here simply because it is at a strategic location, there is a school, health center and a field here and it is hazardous especially in the rainy season,” he added.
Abdoulie Cham, senior teacher, Sinchu Baliya UBS said they have no idea how the dumpsite started.
Mr Cham added: “Some kids will easily run to the dumpsite and play there. We are teachers and we spend most of our time here; so if we are within an environment that is not hygiene, it poses a lot of health effects in our lives.”
He claimed that the National Environment Agency visited the site but they just pushed the rubbish up and left it there.
He said what is more worrying is that people are still dumping there, knowing the implications.
He continued: “Unfortunately, we cannot do anything about that because we are not authorised to stop anyone from dumping here. We try to monitor the dumpsite during the day but now they wait till at night to dump there.”
Abdoulie Kassama, head boy Sinchu Baliya UBS, said as students the dumpsite is really hindering their education, especially during the rainy season. He said they find it difficult to learn in such conditions, adding that they sometimes go home when they cannot bear the smell.
“We have been discriminated because sometimes students will discourage their friends from coming here. If they ask them the school, instead of saying Sinchu Baliya, they will say Sinchu mbalit School… that Mbalit school so we are not happy about that”.
Fatoumata Minteh, a resident, said: “My compound is next to the dumpsite so anytime I see people dumping, I ask them not to but sometimes others will even insult me. During the dry season I used to burn the waste but rainy season is always a problem.”
Meanwhile, when contacted for comments, Kunkujang Keitaya ward councilor, Fatou Jallow said where the dumpsite is located is not suitable because school children are there and it can be detrimental to their health.
“We just collected the dumpsite last month but not completely and I advised the VDC to monitor the place and make sure that people don’t dump there. We are trying our best. I am not happy with it myself but surely, surely we will collect it before the end of this month,” she promised.
While assuring the people of Sinchu of her council’s commitment in making sure that the dumpsite is removed, Madam Jallow called on the residents to be vigilant and desist from anything that is detrimental to their health.