By Sariba Manneh
Vendors at the Brikama Market, particularly women, have raised major concerns regarding the environmental sanitation of the market which they say is detrimental to their health.
Speaking to this reporter in an interview on the 6th of January 2023, Fatoumatta Trawally alleged that the market is one of the dirtiest in the region, particularly during the rainy season. There is a lot of uncollected garbage and dirt gathers in the market and this makes customers feel uncomfortable to get inside and buy goods.
“The market smells terribly bad and with the worms arround everywhere, it make one to vomit. This is why many other vendors stop at the roadside to sell their products,” she said.
Ramatoulie Joof, a female vendor, confirmed the environmental sanitation problem which affects them.
“We face so many difficulties especially during the rainy season, because most areas of the market becomes muddy, unhygienic and inaccessible, and thus driving away customers. It also becomes very uncomfortable and unhealthy for me to sell vegetables which I place on a cloth spread on the ground and this is always covered in dust when people pass by,” she disclosed.
Isatou Sarr, another vendor at the Brikama market, laments similar challenges.
“This is where we earn livelihood to feed our families. So we will bear the consequences no matter what, because we have to take care of our families. Currently I suffer from cold and I cannot even smell the bad odour that people talk about. Also, some of our customers do not buy from us anymore, because of the unpleasant environment we are in, here in the market. If officials from the Brikama Area Council do their best, this waste water can be removed from the market,” she said.
Bakary Manjang, a public health officer attached to the Brikama District Hospital, said they always visit the market for their regular daily inspections and after which reports are submitted to the authorities concerning the fish market, in terms of hygiene. He said members of the fish market committee always complain about the lack of equipment to remove sewage from the market.
The health officer added that this is a collective responsibility for the public relations officer of BAC and the market committee members in ensuring that the market which benefits the whole community, is hygienically maintained.
Mr Manjang said there should be a chain of communication so that all sectors in this crusade, can come in and play their own part, just like the media is doing in disseminating the information to the general public.
This reporter visited BAC and spoke to the Public Relation Officer is also the Clerk of the said Council, in order for to shed light on the above lamentations from the vendors.
According to PRO Lamin Sighateh, the fish market management pays for the disposal of the waste and further said that the market needs to be upgraded and expanded to allow for more space. He said the market serves as a trading hub for the region because most of the goods from surrounding villages and communities are brought to the Brikama market for sale.
“The region is faced with daunting problems such as inadequate place for the numerous vendors to sell their products. That is why most of them go to the roadside to sell their produce which sometimes causes traffic jams on the road,” he said.