Should We Foul Our Nest-Environment?


Today the question we will like to throw to all and sundry is: should we continue to foul our nest – the environment? Of course an emphatic NO is the answer expected from all sensible people. We must all work collectively towards ensuring that we handover to generations coming after us a sound and healthy environment.
This, we owe to generations yet unborn just like our forefathers made it a point of duty and handed over a better environment to us, enabling us to enjoy today most of the things that we drive from this gift from almighty Allah (God).
It goes without doubt that meaningful human development process hardly takes place without some sort of destruction to our nest. But the level of destruction to the environment resulting from the various activities of the modern man is really a cause for concern. It should be everybody’s business in ensuring that our different individual actions have limited negative effects on our environment.
When a given population grows, the level of destruction to the environment also increases as people depend heavily on things like the forest for their source of fuel to cook, warm themselves and also to take care of some other domestic needs. The population also depends on the environment to get water. To access these, minerals and other natural resources; human beings always tamper with the environment.
As settlements also increase, the forest is affected as more trees are cut to build human habitations. The growing number of population also takes its toll on: sand, gravel and other natural endowments as people need these minerals to make bricks for their buildings and to construct their homes and other basic needs.
So what we are trying to illustrate is the fact that creating human habitation has its effects on the environment in various ways; but we must be smart enough to tap those resources without causing environmental damage.
It is a special pleasure to let Gambians know about World Environment Day 2018, which was marked last week on June 5. In one of its most inspired moments, the United Nations decided to set aside the day annually for reflection on the environmental state of the earth; a place where we live, where our forefathers had lived, and where we intend that our descendants will live.
The last few decades have shown that on account of damage to the environment, there are no guarantees that we can hand over a liveable place to generations after us. That reality unfolds daily, as we observe the consequences of climate change, and the environmental abuses that cause it.
This year, the theme of the world Environment Day called for a reflection on what to do with plastic pollution, an environmental epidemic, created daily, relentlessly, by consumption habits that favour the one-off use of plastics; plastic bags, plastic bottles, disposable cups, sweet wrappers, and toys, most of which we are told, will take between 500 to 1,000 years to degrade.
Current researches show that plastics that have not been burnt or recycled could be in excess of 4.5 billion tons. Much of that has ended up in the ocean, becoming almost impossible to retrieve. Worse still, salt and sunlight cause plastics to break into smaller pieces, micro-plastics which end up being eaten by fish and other marine creatures, and this may even find their way into our meals.
In the Gambia we are fortunate to have banned the use of plastic within our system; though unfortunately the use of plastic is showing its ugly head again on our streets. It is commonly visible in our markets across the country as children and ladies carrying bowls full of water in plastic bags in and around our markets.
This is an unfortunate situation and the Environment Ministry as well as the National Environment Agency should put their feet down to see to it that we have plastic-free environment. The department should also be mindful of mining exercises going on at our various mining sites so that mining activities do not affect the environment adversely.


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