By Madiba Sainghateh
The Bakoteh / Manjai dumpsite, caught fire on Friday 1st December, 2017. It is alleged the fire was caused by school children who were going home when they closed from school.
The Senior Supervisor at the dumpsite, Mr. Abdou Sayang, the fire was caused by the school children, who were coming from school and scavenging within the dumpsite; that they were driven away and that as they scattered, they saw heavy smoke coming from the area the children ran to escape from them; that before they could understand anything, the area was already on fire; that they tried to put out the fire on their own but this was difficult for them and the fire service later came to give a helping hand. He said the flames were eventually put out but the bellowing smoke continued to pose the most problem. Sanyang said as supervisors, they find it very difficult to control people especially children, from scavenging at the site; that they tried the best they could to secure the site but this poses a big security challenge for them. Sanyang added that people do all kinds of activities within the site, from dumping to scavenging.
Fatoumatta Sillah the PRO of the Kanifing Municipal Council, confirmed the fire incident at the site; that this was reported by the management of the Council during a meeting.
It could be recalled that during the re-opening of the site, it was promised that waste dumped at the site, will not be burnt because the communities do not want it at the site anymore.
It could also be recalled that the Minister of Lands and Environment, Lamin Dibba, told the members of the National Assembly that the site will be totally fenced and secured from scavengers and passers-by; that a rigorous security and control of the site will be ensured from all intruders. He said a bulldozer / shovel will be stationed at the site to manage the daily trips of dump at the site.
He said each day’s dump should be spread / flattened and covered with a thin layer of sand, to prevent stench from being emitted.
Authorities say Bakoteh dumpsite would be transformed into a transit point for sorting out waste coming from Banjul and the Kanifing Municipalities in the near future and that a final disposal site will be identified by the Ministry of Lands and Regional Administration for the Greater Banjul area, for the safe disposal of waste.