By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Ministry of the Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, held a news conference on Wednesday May 9th 2018, to shed light on the various environmental challenges taking place in the country.
Held at their office along the Kairaba Avenue, the conference was attended by the Ministers of Information and Environment and officials of the National Environment Agency.
On Agua Gambia Sewage Facility:
On April 13th, the Environment Minister Lamin Dibba, together with the Resident representative of the United Nations and NEA officials, visited Agua Gambia Sewage Facilities and the Kotu Creek outflow for assessment, and as per their visit, and an emergency meeting with stakeholders was held.
The officials found out that Agua has skipped a very important stage in their waste water treatment which is the pre-treatment phase; that this has caused certain environmental challenges like the discharge of raw sewage into the Kotu stream and the bad odour that emanates from the facility.
NEA officials said the Agua facility was later served with an enforcement notice to undertake all the leakages from the manholes and fix the network and discontinue the illegal discharge of raw sewage into the environment from their various pump stations and broken pipes.
Senior Program Officer for Coastal and Marine Environment at National Environment Agency (NEA) Lamin Komma, confirmed that the foul stench from the sewage plant has drastically reduced and that work is ongoing on the network pipes and manholes.
On the Golden Lead Import and Export Trade Company Ltd
Environment officials said they conducted an assessment and discovered that a pipe was connected to discharge effluents into the ocean without prior approval; that the company was later sued by the NEA in respect of the violation. However, the matter was withdrawn following the intervention of the Executive, and an out-of-court settlement was reached.
As part of the agreement, the Company was asked to undertake an eco-toxicological assessment, disconnect the pipe connected to the sea and construct a waste treatment plant.
Lamin Komma said samples of the wastes from the sea were tested at the National Water Quality Analysis Laboratory in Abuko and Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal.
According to officials, the samples showed no evidence of toxic materials that may lead to the massive death of fish reported. The Company is said to be given the go-ahead, to continue operation.
On the issue of the Bijilo Nature Reserve, the Minister of Environment said Government has agreed to suspend its decision to de-reserve the park for the construction of a hotel and presidential villa.
The newly appointed advisor to the Ministry of Environment Malanding Jaiteh, highlighted the significance of the park and the need to protect it and the lives it houses.