Environment minister raises concern over Barra beachside

The Environment minister, Hon. Pa Ousman Jarju on Monday expressed his dismay over the situation of the Barra beachside which is seriously threatened by erosion and illegal dumping.

Minister Jarju was at the North Bank settlement as part of his four-day nationwide tour to intervention sites – to inspect projects, conduct handing over of community forests, interact with beneficiaries, and stakeholders.

“You see the seriousness of this waste issue and it seems that no one was responsible for this mess,” he said, adding that the people there are not managing the waste properly and effectively for the benefit of not only those living around the area but also passengers and commuters who travel through the village to the country’s capital city of Banjul.

“I am suggesting a regional set-setal be organised by the Kerewan Area Council, the Governor’s Office and other stakeholders to mobilise the communities to clean up the area and ensure that mechanisms are in place to maintain the area clean and tidy at all times for the well-being of all and sundry.”

The Environment minister highlighted the significance of the Barra beach, saying it is very vital for ecotourism in the country since many tourists pass through the site to visit Fort Bullen. He assured of his ministry’s collaboration with other line ministries, NGOs, stakeholders and local communities to ensure that the environment is kept clean and tidy.

He also reminded that come 2017, The Gambia will attain open defecation free status as government is poised to address sanitary issues to stop the menace. He finally advised residents living in the area just around the mouth of the beach to quit the place, or else face demolition of their properties, saying the condition of the place is not fit for human habitation.

The tour delegation also visited the Bakindic Community Forest Park, Kerr Ardo’s Community Cashew Farm and Tree Nursery Centre, Illiasa Horticulture Garden and the Governor’s Bantaba, where he interacted with members of the communities.