GAMBIA: We would do no justice to the future generation if we fail in our responsibility as a nation to conserve our natural resources and our nature reserve. It’s time to act and the rightful authority to lead in the crusade is the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources.
The depletion of our forest cover is moving at an unprecedented speed, and if we don’t act now, history will judge us wrong no matter what we achieve. The next generation will not forgive us for deciding against them; their future; their children’s future and the generation to come after them.
Our natural resources particularly the forest cover is on the brink of fading, with unending deforestation, bush fire and unacceptable charcoal burning, which now seem to become the trade of every rural dweller in this country. We believe that more stringent measures have to be taken to ensure that we harness our forest cover wisely so as to meet the demand of the new age.
Kiang had one of the best forest covers in this country, looking back from 20-15 years. But today, because of high economic activity, the dependency is such high on its forest cover; as a result, everything is now turning into a desert. This is not to say that people should not use our forest covers on economic grounds, but we have to do so with limitation and some measure of reservation.
We have to acknowledge that our nation, our nature is facing huge threat, the degrading of natural resources. All but one activity which is charcoal burning is spinning out of control and if the right authorities do not act now, a different story will be narrated in generations to come.
The Department of Forestry should work closely with district authorities across the country to put in place measures to minimise total dependency on our forest cover. This would include reasonable punishment for people found wanting for committing any wrongdoing.
People who wish to be charcoal burners must obtain licenses for a number period and with conditions that must be fulfilled. There is a saying that: in a forest, when one tree is cut, another is planted to replace it. But it seems this is not the case of ours in this country; for we are falling more tress compare to our scale of planting.
Places like Kiang must not be allowed to turn into another Badibou – a place where deforestation becomes the other of the day. Badibou has virtually become a desert and the idea to restore and reforest the area seems no longer exist.
We urge that the Ministry of Environment and the Department of Forest act before it’s too late.