Our country faces serious environmental problems ranging from land degradation to household waste management issues in the urban and semi-urban areas. Erosion, especially along the riverbanks and the marine coastline, pose a serious threat to infrastructure and human settlements. The UDP views these environmental problems as serious and requiring urgent attention. The following are priority areas in our policy objectives:
Improving Waste Management and Sanitation
The current population of the Greater Banjul Area is about 300,000 and growing at a rate of 8.1% per annum. The large amount of waste especially household waste and other non-biodegradable substances in this area calls for an improved collection as well as a workable disposal system that would ensure that no hazard threatens the lives of our people and the environment. We shall promote a policy of improving waste management both in the urban and rural areas as well as sanitation.
Rural Water Supply
The various rural water supply programmes of the past, particularly the one relating to the provision of hand pump fitted concrete-lined covered wells, have indeed improved clean water supply in the rural areas. However, the programmes came to a halt after the 1994 military take-over. Currently, approximately 50% of the rural population are still without safe drinking water in spite of the previous good work undertaken in this area.
The UDP considers clean water supply in the rural areas a priority, and shall review and adopt appropriate measures to provide access to clean water in rural Gambia.
We shall endeavour to improve the vegetation cover of The Gambia through reforestation. To this end, the annual tree-planting exercise will be reinstated. We shall also revisit our forestry laws and review the capacity of the Forestry Department to ensure that they are adequate enough to protect our forest cover from undue exploitation.