|National Environment Agency (NEA)|
Establishment of the NEA
Following an extensive consultative process involving the government institutions, NGOs and private sector, Cabinet adopted the Gambia Environmental Action Plan (GEAP) in 1992. The GEAP aimed at prioritizing environmental problems most seriously affecting the nation, and proposing solutions to address these problems.
One of the main recommendations of the GEAP was the need to create the National Environment Agency (NEA) for liaison with all other sectors on all matters relating to the environment on behalf of government. Although the NEA was formally established after a Cabinet decision in 1993, it became fully functional only in 1995 after its entire work force of 40 staff was recruited.
Formation of the Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides Control and Management Board
The importation and control of pesticides was previously regulated by the Department of Agricultural Services, which meant it had a conflicting dual role as regulator and user.
To address the anomalous situation, an independent multi-sectoral Hazardous Chemicals and
High rates of beach erosion threatened important structures and facilities
Pesticides Control and Management Board was established in 1994. The Board chaired by the NEA regulates the licensing of pesticides/hazardous chemicals imported and used in the nation. It also reviews and approves strategies and projects dealing with chemicals.
Safe Disposal of 15 tonnes of obsolete and confiscated pesticides
Several tons of obsolete pesticides were kept in agricultural stores in different locations through-out the nation. The stock of obsolete pesticides increased further as a result of the effective enforcement of the existing pesticides control regulations by the NEA.
The NEA was able to secure external funding under the UN African Stockpile Program for the removal and safe disposal of 15 tons of obsolete and confiscated pesticides which
could never have been disposed off in any environmental friendly manner within our nation, due to lack of proper facilities and technical expertise. The entire consignment was instead transported in July 1999 to the United Kingdom for high-temperature incineration.
Phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS)
The Government of the Gambia showing its firm commitment to phase-out consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), ratified the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol in the early 1990s. The London Amendments to the Montreal Protocol were ratified in May 1995.
With funding from the Multilateral Fund under the Montreal Protocol, the NEA created a National Ozone Office in June 1997, to implement strategies and build capacity to phase out ODS. So far, over 200 refrigeration technicians have been provided technical training in retrofitting, and an additional 120 customs officers have been trained to detect and prevent different types of ODS being illegally imported.
Coastal Protection Project
Although the causes can be classified as both anthropogenic and natural, the sea erosion is considered one of the most serious environmental problems facing the nation. The alarming rate of coastal erosion was beginning to threaten important infrastructure, such as the Banjul-Serrekunda Highway, NAWEC Mile 2 Water Tank, hotels and Banjul Muslim Cemetery along the coastal strip.
After a comprehensive scientific study in 2000 to determine the exact causes of the alarming rate of erosion, the government decided to acquire a loan of US$20 million from the
African Development Bank, for the construction of sea defenses at strategic locations, and developing the capacity of selected Gambians to manage future works, and coordinate development activities within the coastal zone. The project is expected to be completed in December 2004. Meanwhile, a Coastal Zone Management Unit under the auspices of the NEA has been created to harmonize all policies and coordinate development activities within the coastal zone.
New Sanitary Landfill in Tambana, Brikama
Waste management has been identified as one of the priority environ-mental problems within the nation’s urban areas.
Due to the public outcry caused by the extremely poor management of the Bakoteh Waste Dumpsite, the government commissioned a Waste Study for the Greater Banjul Area to address the waste management problems holistically. A major outcome of the study is the identification of a new landfill site in Tambana that has satisfied all internationally set selection criteria. A sum of US$1.4 million will now be spent to improve the Bakoteh Dumpsite to an acceptable standard, after which it will be closed for all future dumping of waste. The waste disposal for the entire GBA will instead continue in an environmentally sound manner in Tambana. The project to rehabilitate the Bakoteh Dumpsite is expected to be completed before June 2005.
Production of the 1st State of Environment (SOE) Report
The aim of the report has been to describe the present status and trend of the nation’s environmental system, and the on-going processes addressing the degradation of the environment as well.
The SOE report, which was the first of its kind in our sub-region, was personally launched in
1997 by His Excellency The President, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC).
PASSING OF ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS
In an effort to protect the general public and environment from the effects of deleterious practices, the government passed three new pieces of regulation in 2001, namely:
a) Discharge permitting regulations to control effluent into the environment and management of waste products in industrial processes;
b) Regulations establishing the environmental Quality Standards Board with a mandate to set environmental standards;Ozone Depleting Substances regulations to regulate the importation of ODS and appliances using ODS.