The Gambia’s Incinerator: A Balancing Act Between Waste Management and Environmental Impact


The Gambia’s burgeoning population and rapidly growing waste generation pose significant challenges in waste management. To address this, the government has implemented various initiatives, including the construction of a modern incinerator in Banjul, the capital city. This controversial project aims to enhance waste management, but also carries potential environmental risks that require careful balancing.

Project Details

The incinerator plant, costing €3.5 million, utilizes fluidized bed technology for efficient and environmentally sound destruction of solid waste. It can process approximately 150 tons of waste per day, generating an estimated 200 tons of ash as a byproduct.


  • Increased waste management capacity
  • Reduction of landfilling and open burning
  • Generation of energy through the sale of heat and electricity
  • Creation of job opportunities in waste management

Environmental Concerns

  • Air pollution due to emissions of harmful gases
  • Water pollution from leachate generated from ash
  • Potential health risks associated with ash disposal
  • Cost of construction and operation

Balancing the Equation

The Gambia’s government must navigate a delicate balance between addressing waste management needs and mitigating environmental impact. Key strategies to achieve this include:

  • Implementation of strict emission controls and air quality monitoring
  • Installation of appropriate pollution control equipment
  • Development of a comprehensive ash management plan
  • Continuous public consultations and community participation

Future Prospects

The incinerator project is part of a multi-faceted approach to waste management in The Gambia. Additional measures include promotion of waste reduction, recycling, and composting. Additionally, exploring alternative waste-to-energy technologies and fostering regional collaboration for sustainable waste management are crucial for the long-term.


The Gambia’s incinerator is a significant step in waste management, but requires ongoing monitoring, mitigation measures, and complementary strategies to minimize environmental impact and ensure sustainable waste handling. By balancing the need for effective waste disposal with environmental responsibility, The Gambia can work towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.


1. What types of waste can be incinerated?

  • Non-hazardous solid waste, including paper, plastics, rubber, and organic materials.

2. How will air pollution be controlled?

  • Emission control equipment such as electrostatic precipitators and activated carbon filters will capture pollutants.

3. Where will the ash be disposed of?

  • An engineered landfill has been designated for ash disposal, with plans for further utilization in road construction.

4. What is the estimated cost of operation and maintenance?

  • The total cost is estimated at around €5 million per year, including fuel, labor, and maintenance expenses.


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