Dear Editor,

In this piece I want to talk about scavenging.

A waste collector who worked at Banjul City Council BCC under different mayors said scavenging is not their wish but “due to our meagre daily wages of D100 we have no choice. Transport fares to and from work will cost at least D40 daily which means almost half of the meager wage is already gone. Government is paying a monthly transport allowance of D1500 which is half of our monthly wage. The councils are supposed to do the same. The local government minister may not be aware. ”

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An elderly worker who served many mayors said they are compelled to depend on begging lift to and from work.

“We always get home very late evening and spend little time with our families. The scavenging subsidies our expenses and without it ‘the snake will eat salt’.”

He added that when cows resist, they don’t understand Fula language.

Another elderly waste collector pointed out that they are working under inhumane conditions and yet they are not accorded the least respect. He said the big people never express appreciation of their work.

“We are frequently harassed and threatened with dismissal. The crab island school camp is in a terrible situation which is unfit for animal habitation much more humans. Even the so-called office of the management team is far from desirable. I just don’t know the use of the so-called knowledge in the heads of those at the top. I want to believe that they don’t have the right qualifications to get the job. They simply have influential family backgrounds and strong connection at the top. This has been proven by CEO Mustafa Batchily’s refusal to accept orders to transfer to another local government area. ”

A senior citizen recalled a blaze on a trailer loaded with unclassified waste at arch 22 some years ago. An engineer was called, and he bravely switched the tipper button, and the waste was dumped on the street. The fire was controlled, and equipment saved.

It was during tenure of interim mayor Alieu Mboge who was shocked with firsthand information on the working conditions of waste collectors. He instructed an immediate increase of wages.

“But to our dismay the good move of the interim mayor was rubbished by elected mayor Samba Faal whose negativity is known by all. This is why council cannot convince Banjulians to collect waste. I want to believe that we are neglected because they are from elsewhere and exposure to communicable and other diseases. No proper treatment with their meagre income. ”

He stressed it is necessary to on incentivise and adequately reward waste collectors who are constantly exposed to health and environmental hazards.

“Waste collectors are doing their best, but council is not reciprocating. These are vulnerable people and bcc witches, and devils are taking advantage of their ignorance, illiteracy, innocence, poverty and weak position” he added.

Written by a concerned citizen

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