When Kanifing began placing municipal waste in an old quarry on the outskirts 40 years ago, it seemed like a good idea. Today, the 45-acre unlined Bakoteh dump lies in the residential heart of The Gambia’s largest municipality, Kanifing, and it’s causing problems for the community.
More than 300 garbage pickers sift through waste daily to pull out valuable recyclable materials.
These pickers often have children that are left to “play” in the garbage to pass time during the days.
Some pickers even live within the dumpsite. One man has lived at the Bakoteh dumpsite for 25 years.
Surrounding residents and an adjacent orphanage/medical clinic deal with continuous issues including odor, dust, mosquitos, and smoke from the frequent fires at the dumpsite.
The good news is that work is underway to modernize the solid waste practices:
The City of Madison donated 1,000 collection carts to help Kanifing clean up its public areas.
In the fall of 2019, the UW-Madison College of Engineering’s Remediation Geotechnics class evaluated potential next steps to close/remediate the existing 45-acre Bakoteh dumpsite.
Wisconsin solid waste professionals have been putting in the pro-bono time to help Kanifing build a comprehensive solid waste program.
Kanifing’s mayor awarded money to youth groups to recycle old tires to build more collection containers across the municipality.
New waste collection vehicles have collected waste from more public receptacles, and used in combination with continued waste collection by donkey carts, the expanded coverage of waste collection has helped to reduce waste in public areas.
The Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) has increased tipping fee collection at the Bakoteh Dumpsite to provide funding to expand their comprehensive solid waste program.
The KMC is currently working on a large capital project to secure the Bakoteh Dumpsite with a brick wall. After hours, trespassers set numerous fires at the dumpsite by burning tires to retrieve the tire wire, which cost KMC a lot of emergency funds to control fires.
Get more background on what’s driving the need for action, meet the team of stakeholders working together to drive positive changes, and learn more about the progress they’ve made by viewing this video from your friends and colleagues at SCS Engineers.
If you’re interested in learning more Chris Jimieson is happy to help.