With the growing environmental problems that the country is grappling with, the need to manage our waste properly is imminent. Even though there is an anti-littering law in the country, the issue of waste disposal is posing a big challenge to the nation.
Therefore, in order to reduce the problem, there is a need for people to change their attitude towards environmental sanitation. Whereas indiscriminate dumping must be discouraged, it is important that more official dump sites be identified by local authorities to deter people from throwing refuse anyhow they like.
The impact of littering the environment has many facets, and includes posing a danger to human and animal health, giving a bad image of the country to tourists, and loss of value by residential property located near refuse dumps, just to name a few.
Poor waste management can, of course, lead to disease outbreaks such as cholera epidemics, malaria, and to the spread of diseases related to personal hygiene such as diarrhea, TB, food poisoning, skin diseases, and many others.
Authorities such as the Ministry of the Environment, National Environment Agency, municipalities, area councils and other stakeholders, should do more to create public awareness on the impact of littering and poor refuse disposal in order for people to adopt environment-friendly attitudes.
For instance, they could help provide more dustbins placed strategically in public places, sponsor environmental education programmes, and ensure that the anti-littering law is fully enforced.
We can also reduce the rate of waste that we produce at both the household level and public places.
The option of re-cycling whole articles such as bottles, plastics, bags, empty containers, or composting organic waste would indeed help in addressing the problem of waste management.
The issue of proper handling of waste and household refuse, but especially littering, is a serious social problem in The Gambia, and we must act now rather than later.
There is no doubt that if we work together, and intensify our efforts, we can remedy the situation in the country.