Omar Malmo Sambou: To Protect The Environment is Devine Duty For All
Wednesday 10 June | By Yero S. Bah
OMAR MALMO SAMBOU: TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT IS DIVINE DUTY FOR ALL
Climate change is a global challenge that needs global solutions. These were the words of Omar Malmo Sambou, a celebrated Gambian environmentalist during an exclusive interview with GunjurOnline at the Brikama UTG campus on Monday June 8, 2020.
He said that, intergenerational dialogue triggered his curiosity and passion for climate change and environmental issues saying elders used to tell him that certain places used to have water ponds, popular biodiversity in some forests but these rich biodiversity are no longer in place in the Gambia as a result of climate change through human environmental activities.
Mr. Sambou noted that, with time all these things are fading away, the rainfall patterns have shifted seriously and its impact on agriculture are ever felt by people in this part of the world.“Temperatures are getting hotter year by year in this country.”
He explained that, the Gambia is losing most of its forest cover largely due to human activities simply because farmers are no longer having good harvest and there are no alternative sources of income. According to Sambou, farmers resort to invading the forests across the country to make a living. “We need to leave this planet better than we found it.”
The UTG lecturer said that, the cutting down of trees and no corresponding replenishing interventions would affect the rainfall patterns, agricultural productivity and eventually environments and biodiversity are severely expose to all formsof danger saying lives and livelihoods would equally be hampered.
He however, responded to critics who believe that, climate change is nothing but a hoax noting that in any issue, there are frontiers and doubters but drew a comparison between earlier times and recent times saying Gambian famers used to have bumper harvests and there were more rainfalls than now. “We are now in June still no rain in the Gambia, this time used to be raining heavily in this country.”
The environmentalist noted that, the earth is getting warmer and warmer all due to climate change saying climate change could be triggered by natural phenomenon or by human activities. He continued that, it is mostly capitalists who would claim that climate change is a hoax whilst calling them to rethink their thoughts on the issue.
He charged that, the Gambia faces more climate change impacts than most other nations simply because the country depends entirely on rain fed agriculture adding that without proper rainfalls, the country could become a complete parasitic state to other nations in terms of food aid. “We need to redesign our agricultural policies and programs to set it into the path to sustainability.”
The environmental activist believes that, the country has problems of providing alternative sources of energy, enforcement of forests and agricultural polices and laws, and sustainable sources of income for farmers who are no longer having bumper harvests which has forced them to invading the forests to make a living despite the possible dangers attached to it.
He explained that, the issues of real estate agencies need to be look into and address otherwise civil conflicts are looming in this country. He pointed that, already there is human-wild-life-conflict happening in the Senegambia area because of the Monkey Park has been torched.
He dwelled on the importance of the forest cover saying it is from there that humans get medicines, food, and rainfall but as it also as serves the home for the wild life. Mr. Sambou believes that, the Gambia is violating the International Agreements that it signed which is meant to protect and preserve forest covers such as the United Nations Framework on Climate change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) by not implementing them as expected.
He called on Gambians to be honest in their duties saying “honesty is one way to better our country” whilst admonishing the youth folk to be bit more patriotic saying their involvement in fighting climate change is fundamental and crucial.
He encouraged for the use of technology in monitoring the climate such as disaster warning systems, surveillance systems, the improvement of metrological services and constant sensitizations would help to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Gambia.