By: Alimatou S Bajinka
Environmentalist, Omar Malmo has told The Fatu Network that Climate Change has been a problem in The Gambia for a while and that it needs to be at the top of the agenda as a result of the negative impact it poses on the country.
“It is significant of a crisis because it is impacting negatively on the major drivers of our economy. Our societies are very vulnerable; our health status is highly affected; our water ecologies are affected; our farms are affected; our agriculture is affected, and our food basket is affected. Therefore, it is really impacting negatively on the major sector of our economy so climate change for us in The Gambia is significant of a crisis and it requires urgent action to mitigate its impact,” said the environmentalist.
According to the PhD holder in Environmental Studies, the Gambia bears the biggest burden in terms of the impact of Climate Change even though it contributes insignificantly to global emissions. And for him, this can be mitigated through prioritisation among other things.
“To build a climate-resilient society would include having climate change as a top priority in our government and our governance system to ensure climate change issues are factored in our infrastructural developments; that is why in recent times we have seen a lot of floods in certain parts of the Gambia. So, to fight climate change is beyond just planting trees on the ground but of course, factoring climate change issues into our development planning which is very essential,” Malmo added.
He continued that building a climate-resilient society will require “significant” capacity building as he believes the Gambia has a huge capacity deficiency when it comes to climate change education and expertise, mitigation and adaptation measures that are required to build the resilience.
Still, on the mitigating measures, he suggests the development of policies that will see the Gambia migrate from being a receiver of old electronic material.
“It is a necessity for the Gambia to begin life circle analysis of some of these electronic materials or materials that basically can increase greenhouse emissions in our communities. This includes second-hand cars that are exported into the Gambia, most of these cars are not useable in other countries, but when they come to the Gambia, we are using them. Therefore, it is important that we have strict vehicle policies so that we do not increase our pollution potential in our society,” he said.