By: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang
The Governor of North Bank Region, NBR, Ebrima Danpha, has reiterated Government’s call for the restoration of the disappearing vegetation cover of the region, through the planting of indigenous and other tree species as a token of heritage, for the coming generation; that with the reality of the fast approaching of the Sahara desert, restoration of the forest cover has become a compelling demand for an integrated approach.
Ebrima Dampha made this call during the fourth annual tree planting and cleansing exercise organized by the National Environment Agency, NEA, and the Kani-Kunda Tenda Youth and Social Development Association, KTYSDA, in NBR.
The Governor planted the first mahogany seedling, followed by the village Alkalo, to mark the beginning of the massive tree planting exercise. All other institutions present were given the opportunity to plant a tree, on behalf of their institutions, to officially mark the beginning of the exercise, with technical support from the Forestry Department. The exercise was graced with melodious traditional drumbeats and dancing, by the visiting traditional groups from Jarra Pakalinding.
Governor Dampha commended the community to jealously safe guard the forest, for the benefit of the entire region and the country at large. He assured support to the association to improve the Region’s vegetation. Governor Dampha further informed the people that Government cannot do it alone and that theirs is an example of complementing Government efforts. He urged other communities to emulate them.
Governor Dampha called on the community to take ownership of their own development and bear in mind that peace has no substitute on Earth.
On his part, the village Alkalo Lamin Naban, said local institutional by-laws, has helped them in their conservation scheme to curb some local menaces. He thanked the youth for their contribution and the NEA for their continuous support and collaboration.
NEA’s Program Officer for Environmental Education and Communication, (author of the story), advised that the transplanted seedlings must be protected from both human and animal interference, including forest fires and called for a higher survival rate of the newly planted seedlings; that the cutting down of trees for charcoal production and other unsustainable utilization of forest resources, greatly contributes to the effects of climatic change and this affects livelihoods, the eco system and the environment in general.
Sanyang warned that the slogan “No tree, No Life”, shows that the falling of a single big tree, results to the death of many smaller ones; that trees trap carbon dioxide released from humans and animals and carbon monoxide from vehicles, by serving as a carbon sink. He warned the communities in the NBR that the ban on plastic bags, still holds and there will be a massive campaign and enforcement on this; that anyone found wanting, will be dealt accordingly. He informed the gathering that plastic causes harm to human health, marine life, the environment, agriculture, animals, etc.
In his farewell speech, the Association’s outgoing President Lamin Saidy, said the main aim of the tree planting activity is to foster more collaboration and corporation amongst community members and bring development to the village. Saidy said over three thousand seedlings were transplanted within the community forest during the exercise and promised that they will jealously protect the newly planted seedlings from bushfires.
He concluded by informing the gathering that the essence of the annual tree planting exercise, is to mitigate climate change impacts by increasing trees in the area. He thanked the Governor and Regional Chairperson for attending, the Forestry Department for their continued support in providing seedlings, the NEA for their support and contribution since the inception of the Association and GRTS TV for the coverage.