|Gambia Gov’t solicits funds abroad for construction of waste incinerators|
By Lamin Jahateh, The Gambian Banker, Banjul
The Gambia government is soliciting funds abroad for the construction and operations of waste incinerators, which are machines for burning waste materials.
Waste incineration is one of the several appropriate technologies to treat municipal waste. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Kalifa Kambi, who represented the minister of Forestry and Environment at the National Assembly in Banjul on Wednesday, said the construction of such incinerators with the proper environmental safeguards “is extremely costly”. “The funding of such a plant is still being solicited abroad,” he says.
Pic. Kalifa Kambi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture
“In The Gambia we have had two comprehensive feasibility studies on waste incineration with energy recovery,” he told the National Assembly while responding to a question posed by Hon. Babanding K.K. Daffeh, National Assembly Member for Kiang Central, asking whether the ministry of Forestry and Environment overseeing climate change had any plans to tap consumer-wastes into renewable energy, either for domestic or industrial use.
Deputy Minister Kambi recalled that the first study concluded that the sand content in the domestic waste stream was too high and therefore the remaining waste volume after mechanically sorting the constituent with high calorific values, would not be economically viable in The Gambia due to economy of scale.
He said the second study was conducted by a Swedish consortium that would complement the shortfall in the waste volume by plating fast growing plant species that would be used to address the shortfall to fuel the combustion in the proposed incinerator.
It is widely considered more cost-effective that the waste incinerator is connected to an electricity generating power plant which receives its main source of fuel from the waste materials themselves, he says.
“For medium-sized waste incinerators, the waste is mechanically sorted to separate the constituents with high calorific values and these are then pulverized to form the fuel for combustion;” he elucidated.
Kambi admitted that waste disposal and management continues to pose a big challenge to the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, and the government.
He said: “It is very encouraging that the government is very concerned, and thus we must jointly show our appreciation to the noble initiative ‘operation clean the nation’ - the monthly setsetal of President Jammeh.”
However, the exercise is beginning to suffer from inactive participation. “I could only wish that we, the Gambians, understand the reason behind the brilliant idea of monthly setsetal,” he noted.
Though sensitization activities on waste management and related issues are vigorously going on through radio broadcasts and in focus group meetings aimed at raising the level of environment in the society, Hon. Kambi says there “is need to look for this noble exercise”.
He said: “Among other avenues, we can explore competitions and thus we would like to invite corporate bodies to sponsor prizes for the best performing locality or district as well as the most improving and the most participatory.”
Recent Cabinet directive on waste management urged the institution of a working group composed of the ministries of Forestry and Environment, Local Government, Health, the municipalities and governors, to ensure the full commitment of all Gambians. It also advised that inspectors from the NEA and health as well as services personnel are facilitated to be visiting sites and settlements.
“This shows the leadership and the paramount care of the government,” Deputy Minister Kambi said, adding: “A cabinet paper on the progress so far will be submitted soon.”