The National Environment Agency (NEA) in honour of its longstanding collaborative partnership with The Gambia Police Force has recently trained police officers in an attempt to make them effective in enforcing environmental laws particularly regulations and also the ban on plastics.
The training is part of a broader partnership in which the two institutions have long signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to protect the environment.
The police were trained on key areas, such as Plastic Ban and Waste Management; Antilittering Regulation; Court Process and Requirements; Evidence Taking as well as Environment and Health.
Speaking at the event, he Executive Director of the NEA, Ndey Sireng Bakurin, said the training is not just about the NEA and the police, but a collaborative venture by a civil sector in the bid to protecting the environment.
She acknowledged that this collaboration is not the first of its kind, recalling that it has been as far back as the 1990s and that it all gears towards environmental quality by protecting the environment and public health. This, she said is all about protecting ourselves.
“You know, when you start something, we are all eager; put all our efforts, but sustainability is the problem in The Gambia,” she said. “Because with time, it slips. Institutions stay and people move and it all depend what is our priority at this time.”
She further acknowledged that the collaboration is still there and that it only needs strengthening. She hailed the security officials for their commitment particularly during national cleansing days, whom she said, are the most personnel that work with the Agency in various areas across the country.
“So it’s been ongoing,” she said. “Maybe there have been some areas which we need to improve on and that’s why we said there is a need to come again to reinforce the MoU.” She added that this would help both NEA and the police to face current realities and challenges facing the environmental sector in the country.
With regard to the re-enforced collaboration, the NEA boss outlined the ban on plastics and the antilittering regulation as fundamentally key to the partnership, saying it would create a brief window of opportunity for both managements to renew substantial efforts to environmental protection.
“We are proud to collaborate with the police, because this also marks another turning point. Another milestone for the National Environment Agency in trying to put in place the rules and regulations which have been a sustainable life,” she said.
Lala M. Camara, Deputy Commissioner of The Gambia Police Force recalled the signing of the MoU with the GPF, which she said has made the police to enforce environmental laws like the antilittering regulation as well as ban on plastics. “Our functions tells us that maintenance of law and order and to apprehend and prosecute offenders against the law,” she said.
She reaffirmed the police, like other environmental regulation, would be equally part of the plastic ban regulation and would execute the duty to their best so that in the end, all national goals can be achieved.
by Bekai Njie