By MUHAMMED SAILU BAH
The Banjul City Council (BCC) recently engaged students from different schools within the City on a tree planting exercise. The tree planting exercise was conducted by students, officials from the BCC and their partners from Oostende City in Belgium, representatives from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and some Banjul residents. The aim of this initiative, according to BCC officials, is to keep the city safe from the menace of climate change as the slogan is ‘Banjul Goes Green’. Speaking on behalf of the Mayor of Banjul, Awa Sillah Njie, deputy mayoress, underscored the importance of trees to the environment. She said trees are vital to the existence and wellbeing of the environment as they do not only provide fresh air for people to breath, but also contribute significantly to the efforts of mitigating the impact of climate change and its negative threats. “Banjul Goes Greener is aimed at further emphasising the importance and value of trees to the survival of human life and its benefits to the ecosystem,” she noted. She urged people to develop the culture of planting trees at any given space and assured her council’s commitment in the drive. “I hope this occasion will not be seen as the end of such an important activity, but rather a continuous event and way of reminding us to be more conscious of the dire need to contribute to the protection of our environment,” she noted The deputy mayoress of Banjul said there is urgent need to support and promote and sustain a healthy environment. She thanked the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture for providing more than one hundred trees to be planted within the city. The deputy mayoress concluded her speech by urging everyone to join the crusade on environmental regeneration. Peeter Vanslambrouch, Oostende Banjul City Link Coordinator, described the exercise as very important as it will be protecting the environment from erosion and other environmental threats. He said trees play a very significant role in the lives of human beings and the environment, noting that it also serves as a habitat for other living organism such as birds. “Trees don’t only protect the environment, but also serve as food, provide shadow as well beautify the environment,” said Mr. Vanslambrouch. He also highlighted the threats the city is facing, especially the rising sea level which, according to him, can be protected with the help of trees. Musa Mendy, a Senior Education Officer at MoBSE, also urged students to protect the trees within their school premises. “The only thing to avert the impact of climate change is to plant more trees and sustain them,” he remarked. The first tree was planted at the BCC by the deputy mayoress and Hon. Alhagie Sillah, National Assembly Member for Banjul Central. The event was chaired by Mr. Sandigi Njie, the BCC Public Relation Officer (PRO).