By: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang
Senior Conservation and Wildlife Officer has said that The Gambia’s biological resources are vital to the populations’ economic and social development with recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. But he sadly reiterated that most of our indigenous tree and animal spices within the ecosystem family have been seriously threatened with extinction caused by human activities that still continue at an alarming rate.
Nuha Jammeh of the Department of Parks & Wildlife Management deliberated that senseless clearing of our forest vegetation covers and areas serving as homes to many spices further increases the problems as habitats for biodiversity members are being destroyed including micro-organisms.
Jammeh make these statements during regional radio sensitization phone in programs marking this year`s World Environment Day commemoration. The day is observed on June 5th every year to promote awareness on the importance of preserving our biodiversity, the need to identify problems related to the environment and ways to take corrective action and to tackle environmental challenges that include climate change, global warming, disasters and conflicts, harmful substances, environmental governance, ecosystem management, resource efficiency among other environmental protection measures.
This United Nations flagship day is used for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment, and over the years it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach, and it is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries.
Jammeh however buttressed that human activities have caused so much damage to the environment that has affected the delicate ecosystem and the damage has become so severe that the whole world has come together to stop any further damage as our continued survival on this planet is at risk.
This year, Colombia host World Environment Day 2020 in partnership with Germany, and the theme is on biodiversity conservation. This theme is intended to remind us to think seriously about the massive loss of our biodiversity due to our activities as humankind. The Executive Director of UNEP stressed that “one million plants and animal species are facing extinction and there has never been a more important time to focus on the issue of biodiversity than now”.
Nuha Jammeh thanked the Government of the Gambia while lamenting on the number of policies and regulations that are being implemented for the judicious exploitation and use of our natural resources. These he said included the Biodiversity Policy, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Forest Policy, National Environment Management Act, Gambia Environment Action Plan among others.
The Gambia containing globally significant biodiversity, harboring a wealth of terrestrial, coastal, marine and wetland habitats and species of local, national, regional and global significance the DPWM expert revealed that threats to species and ecosystems has never been as great as it is today with clearing of forest areas that further increases problems as habitats for living organisms are destroyed.
Recognizing the need to conserve its biological resources, the Hon. Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources in a statement disclosed that the government of the Gambia has made a commitment to conserve 10% of the land area and eventually hectares of coastal and marine habitats as conservation areas.
Responding to numerous phone callers during the radio talk show, Jammeh express his sadness by the rate at which our forest resources are exploited. He appealed to Government to put in place regulations to curb the rapid destruction of the forest covers. He also urged the local population to take ownership of their immediate surroundings that are left fallowed for years and plant in the area indigenous tree spices at the same time creating new habitats for local spices.
Nuha Jammeh concluded by appealing to Government and non-government institutions who are charged with the responsibility of managing our country’s natural resources and heritage, local communities, CBOs, Youth and women groups and individuals to re-double efforts in this area while also urging the private sector to render great consideration to the environment, as businesses cannot grow with the impacts of climate change.
He finally thank the National Environment Agency and Karpowership Company for the aggressive awareness creation and community outreach through phone-in radio awareness and sensitization programs in community radio stations throughout the country that will increase the awareness of all residents, particularly the local communities, on the importance of protecting our environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.
Sheikh ‘Alkinky’ Sanyang is a writer on the environment and environmental issues. He works at the National Environment Agency.