A creek in the Gambia has turned red from the blood of dead fish, killing marine lives, mostly crabs in Gunjur, a southwestern Gambian town.
Locals have blamed a Chinese-owned fishmeal company for polluting the waters, accusations that Golden Lead Factory denied.
“The locals think it might be toxic, which is used in the factory. While fearing for their health, the local environmentalists managed to fill a plastic bottle as a sample for research. With tears in their eyes, they shot some pictures and went back home,” according to Green Wall Warriors.
The Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve is a protected area owned by the community of Gunjur, covering 320 hectares. It has a very important and high diversity of avifauna. It is, more importantly, a roosting and feeding area for terns, gulls and other species.
Golden Lead is accused of depositing fish waste into the Atlantic through an underground pipe, which was uncovered due to erosion.
Activists protested the environmental pollution and the building of a new fishmeal plant in neighboring Kartong, where the police impounded two trucks full of fish waste.
Gambia’s fisheries minister blamed locals for using wrong fishing gears and throwing juvenile fish into the sea, claims that angered local fishermen.
A petition campaign has been launched with over a thousand people calling on President Adama Barrow to intervene and stop the activities of the Chinese company accused of the pollution.
“The government must act now and save our future before it is too late. Tourists will be gone and our fish stocks are depleting fast,” said Musa Manneh.
“This factory must close down right now and be removed. We want a protected area and a future for our children. We will fight for it till our last breath.”
A meeting between government officials have been held and the results from the samples taken are yet to release. But villagers, supported by activists are vowing to take more action.
According to activists, residents are facing threats by the factory owners and government’s denial of the severity of the situation is pushing activists to take further action to preserve their environment.