SOS Children’s Village plants 200 trees at Bakoteh dumpsite
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The SOS Children’s Villages in The Gambia through its Community “Strengthening through Green Economy and Education Project” (CSGEE) on Monday embarked a tree planting exercise within the perimeter of Bakoteh dumpsite.
The exercise, which witnessed the planting of 200 trees, is a project funded by the German Federal Government for Economic Development and the Hermann Gmeiner Founder Clan. It seeks to improve the economic situation of families living within the vicinity of the Bakoteh landfill site.
Sarjo Touray, project coordinator for the Community Strengthening through Green Economy and Education, reminded that in addition to the 200 trees being planted, they will plant another 300 during the second phase.
The project, he added, will also serve as an extention for the Hermann Gmeiner Drive Green Zone, emphasizing that trees are important and serve community in many ways.
He disclosed that in addition to serving as carbon sink for the environment, trees also help in mitigating climate change.
He reminded that the project has an organic component that will build an incubation program targeting scavengers and will turn the Hermann Gmeiner Drive Green Zone to a green incubation for compost making and floriculture for people to use as a business avenue.
For his part, Kanjura Kanyi, manager for Bakoteh Dumpsite said Kanifing Municipal Council has dedicated about 19 staff to assist the project, adding that they will extend the generosity towards this phase of the project to ensure that the project is well implemented.
“We might not be able to stop every tree from dying but we will do our utmost best to ensure that most of them survive.” he added.
Madline Mendy widely known as Mariama Mendy, a native of Dippa Kunda, said the benefits of the project are huge, stating that the smell and smoke from the dump site affect communities around.
She disclosed that some people have lost their sight, some even developed asthma, while others sustain sustained injuries due to hazards associated with the dump site.
She however, called on all to safeguard these trees, warning that whosoever intentionally cuts the tree will face the full force of the law.
Abdou Jobe, chairman for Famaly Welfare Committee, a committee formed by the project said some people used to earn their living from the dump site by selling empty bottles, scraps and other materials.
The project, he added, discourages all that by supporting vulnerable families that are close to the project with grants to start their choice of businesses.
He said that even after the project they will continue to work with those familes to prevent children from returning to the dump site.
“The more trees we have within the dump site the less hazard for the community,” he also said while calling on the population to manage their waste properly.
Tijan Jassey, alkalo for Bakoteh, expressed similar sentiments, further reminding communities about the importance of trees in disaster prevention by acting as wind break.
The exercise attracted volunteers from the beneficiary commenities of Bakoteh, Dippa Kunda and Manjai.