By Nelson Manneh
The frustrated women vendors and consumers at the Brikama fish market have lamented the poor hygienic and sanitary conditions caused by an overflowing soak away, which could be seen as a threat to the health of both the vendors and customers.
They expressed total dissatisfaction and outrage on the situation which has become a nightmare to them because of the potential health risks and the stench that pollutes the whole market.
The stench or pollution has even forced some vendors to relocate to where the filthy water does not flow and stagnate. They said even some customers are no longer buying their vegetables which is of great concern to them as selling vegetables is their main source of income.
They narrated how water overflowing from the soak away has made the place so filthy and unhygienic for people to sell their food near it and serve as a breeding ground for flies, maggots and mosquitoes.
Maggots and insects could be seen parading the ground where these vendors are selling their vegetables, customers were seen abandoning the women who were seated near or on the dirty water.
Madam Mam Njie, a vendor in her early sixties who sells vegetables at the entrance of the market, said they have been lodging complaints to the management team of the market and they always respond to their calls.
Madam Njie added that the sanitary condition of the market is not new but has been like this since it was constructed.
flowing water affects our business, it makes other customers not to come near to us and this is the only place where we get money to take care of our families and ourselves too,” she lamented.
Hawa Ceesay another vendor in the market also lamented the harm the overflown water is causing them especially their business, pointing out that any vegetable that falls has to be thrown away because it cannot be sold. She said it worsens during the rainy season.
“No one comes here to buy our products without complaining. Some would even say ‘I will never come to this area again,” she noted.
Speaking to Foroyaa, Mustapha Suso the manager of the fish market in Brikama said they have been encountering this problem for a long time. According to him, the market was built without drainage.
“When the soak away is full we use the tank to remove the wastewater which is very expensive. The market has no subvention from the government, we rely on what we get from the market to run it which is not easy,” he noted.
He said the solution to this problem is for them to have a drilling tank.
Manager of the market added that they spend a lot of money to take care of the water waste which is very expensive. He said they have been writing to many NGOs and other institutions to come to their aid but to no avail. Suso noted that the funds that they get from the market cannot take care of all these problems. He said sanitation is a concern to them.
Jallow, a customer who was seen buying vegetables from the said vendors said the poor sanitary condition makes her uncomfortable as it is a health hazard. She said that during the rainy season market vendors suffer a lot more than them (the customers). ‘‘Whenever I buy vegetables from the said vendors who sit beside the polluted water, I would wash them several times before we consume them,’’ she said.
urged the authorities concerned to take immediate action and help women vendors and their customers.