Gambia– Nbr The regional forestry officer in the North Bank Region (NBR) has warned on the dangers of bushfires, and urged the people of the area to not only be vigilant, but also rally against the wanton destruction of the country’s forest cover.
Ebou Jangha was speaking to this reporter Sunday on the sidelines of the Gambia’s 47th Independence Anniversary celebrations in Kerewan. He stressed the need for the locals to play their part in the protection and conservation of the country’s natural resources and soil cover.
Jangha lamented that the destruction of the forest occurs almost every year, and is carried out by unknown individuals bent on creating havoc for animals and livestock, and the people at large. He challenged the alkalolu and the communities in general to continue to jealously guard the forests from bushfire and to build strong partnership with cluster villages to put off any outbreak of fire within and outside their vicinities.
Jangha further warned that anyone found cutting trees or setting the bush on fire would face the full force of the law. “The frequent burning of the forest contribute to the loss of soil fertility and aggravate lost natural habitats and by extension result to low rainfall,” he pointed out.
He explained that according to the Forest Act of 1998, anybody found guilty of the crime would be fined an amount of D3000 and in default serve six months imprisonment. He then called on all the district authorities to enforce the law to the letter with a view to help in protecting the forest and the environment.
Commenting on the felling of trees in the forest, Jangha also warned that anyone caught in the act would be severely dealt with. “Communities should serve as watchdogs for the Forestry Department,” he concluded.