A Chinese company in the crux of a pollution lawsuit have erected a structure in the southwestern Gambian town of Gunjur, where activist blamed the fishmeal firm of befouling the ecosystem.
Golden Lead Factory was first dragged to court by the Gambia’s environment agency in June and ordered to pay a $25,000 bond. They reached an out of court settlement with authorities.
Activists were angered by the resumption of operations by the company and received backing from villagers to file $329,589 (D15 million dalasis) lawsuit against the company.
Golden Lead built the new structure just a few months after villagers and activists filed their lawsuit. They have also laid off many workers and start using caterpillars to unload fish from small canoes off the coast.
Members of the community and environmentalists held a demonstration after the incident, calling on the government to relocate the Chinese company as well as stop the building of a similar company in the nearby village of Kartong.
The company stands accused of contaminating the waters and disposing into the sea chemicals and waste that is killing marine lives amid concerns of overfishing by Chinese vessels in Gambian waters, which is driving dozens of fish species into extinction.
Activists said Gambia’s first Community Wildlife Reserve in the village of Gunjur, 21 miles from Banjul is facing depletion as its stream has turned red and wildlife found dead as a result of pollution.
The company agreed to remove the pipe, restore damages done to the ecology, and support and finance an assessment but conservationist argued that Golden Lead is threatening food security in the West African nation, and exposing the people to cancer and other health implication.