Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has added his voice to condemning the environmental pollution facing Gambia’s southwestern coastal towns, calling for fishmeal plants to follow proper disposal measures.
Government officials visited Kartong and Gunjur, the epicenter of the crisis following protests against Golden Lead Company, a Chinese-owned fish processing company accused of disposing fish waste into the sea and causing an environmental disaster.
“While my government encourages and welcomes investment in The Gambia to promote our country’s economic growth and development, we maintain a firm position about protecting our environment and public health. Business practices must be environmentally friendly,” Mr. Barrow said.
Barrow has pledged that his government will take necessary action to ensure that current and future economic operators in the small West African nation abide by the code of conduct expected of them.
Authorities investigating the allegations against Golden Lead have briefed the president that the company has not been following proper waste management and disposal practices and also blamed fishermen for illegal fishing and using unapproved gears, catching juvenile fish and dumping them on the shores.
Gunjur’s Bolong Fenyo has turned red from the blood of dead fish and other marine lives in the major wildlife reserve area, 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.
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 has not announced what it will do moving forward to prevent a repeat or if violations continue.
Activists have, however, vowed to take strike actions if necessary measures are not put in places to end the environment pollution, which has, so far, affected tourists businesses, owned by locals in the fishing villages.