By Ndey Sowe
Fafa Sanyang, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, has revealed that there are ranges of measures which the governments, together with development partners, are taking to address the rapid rate of loss of the country’s forest cover.
He added this include reducing high dependency on the forest for energy.
“The Gambia faces a high risk of ecological catastrophe if necessary countermeasures are not taken soon,” he said during the launching ceremony of the nationwide awareness-raising campaign and distribution of efficient cooking stoves and alternative cooking fuels.
Minister Sanyang said energy is used for different purposes, and there are different types of energy, which include electricity, petroleum products and biomass.
“An assessment of the energy balance in The Gambia has revealed that biomass energy constitutes about 80 per cent of the total energy demand of the country, the biomass energy which is used for cooking also constitutes over 95 per cent of domestic or cooking energy in The Gambia,” the minister said.
Minister Sanyang said this is a very high proportion of the energy balance, which indicated the heavy dependency of the country on the forest for energy.
“We are fast losing our forest cover and the energy sector is contributing to this great loss of natural vegetation. As a measure to arrest and reverse the trajectory of the loss of the forest cover, my ministry with support from UNIDO launched a nationwide campaign to raise the awareness of the general populace about the use of efficient cooking stoves and alternative cooking fuels,” he said.
Sanyang said he is hopeful that after the campaign, Gambians will get to use efficient cooking stoves and alternative cooking fuels. He said this will help them reduce the amount of biomass energy consumed.
“Biomass energy is very important for The Gambia, as it is the main source of energy for the country and the heavy reliance on it as domestic energy is threatening our forest cover and ecological balance,” he said.
The minister said the sustainable and efficient use and management of biomass energy is critical not only for the energy sector, but overall, for the future of the country’s natural environment. He called on other partners to join government’s efforts to address the challenges in the domestic energy sub-sector, which has a repercussion for the forest and the environment.
Minister Sanyang also urged Gambians to use efficient cooking stoves and alternative cooking fuels- together. He said this will make great impact on the future of the planet.