Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Illegal sand mining continues unabated, while Bakoteh dumpsite poses a serious health hazard

Sand mining was identified in a 2000 Coastal Erosion Study conducted by a Dutch consulting company to be one of the primary causes of beach erosion that is a persistent threat to our coastline.

For a country whose economy is so dependent on tourism, preventative measures would have been in order to ensure better management and the exercise of personal discipline by government officials, after the beach restoration exercise that included beach nourishment, groyne construction and other measures taken that stabilized our beautiful coastline.

Lack of maintenance of the country's coastline and sustained abuse of our environment have resulted in severe beach erosion resulting in the receding coastline at the Senegambia Beach area.

Unfortunately, illegal authorization and the issuance of licenses for sand mining is still going on in Sanyang.  These illegal activities may be going on as well in other satellite towns and villages that may further exacerbate the ecological imbalance that can only wreak is constantly under threat from abuses of the environment.

Gunjur, on the other hand, is faced with a constant toxic waste disposal system from the Chinese fish-feed factory that is not only threatening to deplete our sea resources but the livelihood and the way of life of a people.
Bakoteh dumpsite, cattle rummaging

Land use issues still haunt the Bakoteh, Manjai, Kololi and satellite settlements, including the land grabbing that we have written about in the past and which, we are made to understand, is currently on hold with paramilitary staking the disputed area.

Specifically, the dump site at Bakoteh has been with us for nearly four decades, if not longer.  It is both an environmental as well as a health hazard, especially area residents and orphans who live directly opposite at the SOS Village.

The dump site is also a grazing area for cattle and small ruminants that end up at our dinner tables.  Despite the absence of verifiable health data, it would not come as a surprise if the incidence of respiratory diseases are not higher in this area than normal because of the unhealthy environment they are condemned to live.

There must be a better way of disposing our waste and mining sand - in a non-destructive and sustainable way without threatening the health of the population and causing further havoc to our coastline.