By Alagie Manneh: The CEO of the Kanifing Municipal Council Pa Kalifa Sanyang has described as a ‘non-starter’ demands by Bakoteh dumpsite youth protesters for the management of the waste site be transferred to their custody.
Scores of young people including women of Bakoteh and Manjai staged a protest against the dumping of waste at the Bakoteh dumpsite, blocking access to the only official landfill in the municipality since last Saturday.
They are calling for a halt to the stinking pollution and health hazards that emanate from the dumpsite, including diseases such as “tuberculosis, cancer and asthma,” demanding among others the management of the site be transferred to their custody.
But responding to their ultimatum, Mr Pa Kalifa Sanyang said it’s a non-starter, saying the protesters don’t have the capacity to handle such a big responsibility, telling the Standard: “We have had numerous such proposals from different entities but none have so far none of them worked.
“Besides, the transfer of a government or municipal function to a private body has to be within a specific framework. It cannot be usurped,” CEO Sanyang stated.
According to him, the residents have right to demonstrate their unhappiness and the MKC he added, is aware of their concerns about the health and environmental implications of the current nature of the site.
“This is no licence however, for them to take the law into their own hands in the name of democracy,” he said.
“In fact respect for the rule of law is fundamental to any democratic process or dispensation.”
He said they are working relentlessly to develop a waste management strategy to advance a project proposal based on a model implemented by the city of Kigali in Rwanda to address the menace of the Bakoteh dumpsite.
The Bakoteh dumpsite’s generated solid waste is estimated to be 219 tons per day in 2002.
In July last year, the KMC officially entered into a contract agreement with a company called JMP Company Limited based in Italy to rehabilitate the long-standing environmental concerns of the Bakoteh dumpsite which has made life unbearable for residents in the area.
But up until now the DM97.2M contract is yet to take –off.