world health

April 12, 2021

swana international


SWANA recently announced the winners of the SWDC competition hosted by SWANA’s Young Professionals Group. The competition aims at providing design experience to students interested in pursuing an education or career in solid waste management. The outcome is that all participants are winners, gathering real-world experience to help solve complex solid waste management issues in a supportive environment.

Seven universities participated in the competition: Arizona State University, Wayne State University, University of Southern California, University of Vermont, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of British Columbia, and the National University of Engineering in Peru.

The GambiaThis year’s project challenged teams to find solutions for closing the Bakoteh Dumpsite and supporting changes to modern solid waste management in Kanifing, The Gambia. The dumpsite is one of the largest disposal facilities in The Gambia and the only one in the Kanifing Municipality.

“Our team of judges was impressed with how this group of student design teams engaged in understanding this solid waste challenge plaguing The Gambia,” Competition judge and SCS Engineers Project Manager, Chris Jimieson, says. “The students developed diverse designs that we believe will become part of the eventual solution of constructing The Gambia’s first engineered, sanitary landfill.”

The judging panel included John Welch, Director of the Dane County Department of Waste & Renewables; Kaba Bah, Principal Manager at the Midwest GOOH Group in Madison, WI; Lamin Sanyang, Director of Services at Kanifing Municipal Council in The Gambia; and our own Chris Jimieson. The judges have a long association with the Bakoteh Dumpsite.

The SWANA Awards Ceremony features two guest speakers, including David Biderman, CEO and Executive Director of SWANA, and Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, The Gambia. Mayor Bensouda explains in the video how the Bakoteh Dumpsite became a significant problem for the growing community and the solutions they are using to fix it.


Chris Jimieson provides us with an update from his travels to The Gambia in Africa to evaluate their solid waste challenges.

bakoteh dumpsiteMany of you attended my presentation at the office in July 2019 following the Mayor’s visit. I have continued to stay in touch with our contacts in Kanifing, The Gambia. In February 2020, we presented the project at WIRMC to solid waste professionals across Wisconsin. During the pandemic, Lindsey Carlson and I participated in a series of weekend phone calls to stay engaged in understanding their solid waste challenges.  

In October 2020, I presented The Gambia situation as a design project to college students worldwide that wanted to compete in the SWANA YP’s International Solid Waste Design Competition. We asked them to provide a closure plan for the Bakoteh Dumpsite, provide a conceptual design for a new sanitary landfill, and share some cost estimates for each of these endeavors. Seven teams from across the Americas decided to compete. If you are interested, please browse through student design posters, reports, and presentations or contact me, Chris Jimieson.

Thanks to the SWANA YPs, my SCS colleagues, and so many who volunteered to help elevate this project to the international stage.










Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

July 10, 2020

bakoteh dumpsite

Building a better solid waste management infrastructure is a top priority for the City of Madison’s sister city, Kanifing, in The Gambia, Africa; and Wisconsin solid waste professionals are helping.

Watch the video

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.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am