A Chinese-owned fishing company at the center of an environmental protest in southwestern Gambia has denied reports it is polluting the sea and air in the West African nation’s fishing region.
Golden Lead, a fishmeal company is accused by locals of discarding fish waste into the sea through underground pipes that were uncovered due to erosion.
The sea has washed ashore dead fishes and fish products, which has now covered the golden beaches of Gunjur and polluting the air.
““We do not dump infantile fish at the sea, nor do we destroy the marine resources of the country,” said Basiru Ndong, a spokesperson for the company.
“There are some occasions where people bring bad fish and dump it along the seaside and people end up blaming us. We assure you that we respect the ocean that gives us the fish and we are not disposing toxic waste water into the ocean.”
At least three trucks filled with fish waste were impounded by the police in neighboring Kartong, where fish dumped on the side of the road made it hard for those living close to the illegal dumpsite to breathe.
Activist last week protested the building of a fishmeal plant in the village and the polluting of their environment. They demanded immediate action by the government to enforce regulations and sanitation laws.
Golden Lead in a statement said that the situation is triggered by external factors beyond their control and committed itself to complying with environmental and fishing regulations.
It has pledged to be part of efforts to correct the “unfortunate situation” along the coastline, but activists insists the company must cease operations until the situation is addressed.