In pursuit of 'zero waste', Senegalese tackle trash | 5/1/2019 | Staff
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Once an idyllic stretch of white beach enticing fishermen and tourists alike, decades of factory and household waste have turned Senegal's Hann Bay into a dump.

The shore, which separates an industrial zone in the capital Dakar from the Atlantic Ocean, is a shocking sight.

Rubbish - Eye

It is littered with rotting fish and plastic rubbish as far as the eye can see.

Dubbed "Trash Bay" by some, the sordid scene is symptomatic of a national environmental disaster whose solution has fallen on the shoulders of private citizens.

Waste - Removal - Services - Residents - Sleeves

Lacking sufficient waste removal services, residents either have to roll up their sleeves as volunteers trash collectors, or pay private firms to clean up.

The pollution problem is receiving more attention, with President Macky Sall broaching the issue in his April 2 re-inauguration speech which mooted a "zero waste" future for Senegal, a country whose cities and towns are notorious for their mountains of plastic waste.

Deadlines - Blueprint - Goal

He set no deadlines, however, nor did he provide a blueprint for achieving the goal.

On paper, trash collection in greater Dakar is a government service. But more than 10 percent of households do not have rubbish pickup, according to Lamine Kebe, a coordinator for the public waste-gathering service UCG.

Areas - Percentage - Suburbs - Trucks - Battle

In some areas this percentage is far higher, particularly in far-flung suburbs. There, rubbish trucks battle to make their way through litter-strewn streets.

On a recent Saturday morning, a few dozen young people sporting gloves, spades and rubbish bags were hard at work in Hann Bay, heeding a cleanup call from Senegal Entraide, a grouping of public service volunteers.

Development - Agency - ADF - Measures - Bay

The French Development Agency (ADF), which backs measures to clean the bay, notes that "60 percent of Senegal's manufacturing industry lies along Hann Bay and empties its polluted effluents directly into the bay".

Residents, too, play their part, dumping everything from plastic bags and clothes to kitchen scraps, animal carcasses...
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