Representatives of a fishing district in southern Gambia have demanded their MP and House Majority Leader to address their environmental and health concerns.
The Kartong-Gunjur Environmental Task Force demanded Majority Leader Mr. Kebba K. Bojang (UDP – Kombo South) to have government agencies and ministries give clear responses to matters raised by the task force.
The task force has asked for Majority Leader Barrow to get the environment and fisheries ministers with the environment agency chief to confirm whether waste and chemical discharged into the sea poses risk to human and aquatic lives.
Kartong and Gunjur are accusing a Chinese-owned fish meal company of polluting its environments and putting residents at the risk of cancer.
Marine life in the area has seriously depleted according to conservationist with an entire reserve land reportedly poisoned by waste disposed of by the company into the sea.
Health experts have sounded the alarm for contracting serious complications and confirmed chemicals such as trimethylamine have been detected.
“During the storage (of fish by Golden Lead), bacteriological and enzymatic decay results in the formation of highly obnoxious substances, such as trimethyl amine, ethyl mercaptan and even of poisonous ones such as hydrogen sulphide, which have to be removed from the exhausts from the factory by special techniques,” said task force chair, Ebrima Jaiteh.
The waters of the Bolong Fenyo creek has changed colors. Britain trained scientist, Ahmed Manjang of the King Fahad Medical Center said it suggests contamination.
There is evidence of marine lives, mostly crab, seabirds, and fish that have died in the creek, and several people have complained of skin and eye irritation after returning from sea.
Government’s environment agency dragged the company, Golden Lead Factory to court and negotiated a court of court settlement.
The company paid $25,000 dollars (D1 million dalasis) to resume operations following the release of an investigation by authorities.
The company had put up underground pipes that were disposing of chemical waste and fish products into the sea and the Bolong Fenyo creek. It left the beaches littered with dead fish and other marine animals.
According to the presidential spokesperson and a native of Gunjur, Amie Bojang Sisohore, Golden Lead has agreed to remove the pipe, restore damages done to the ecology, and support and finance an assessment.