"Act now to protect our environment or we will take matters into our own hands"
Environmental activists in Gunjur have issued a warning to the government of The Gambia to take immediate steps to end environmental damage or they "will use all legal means to stop it". Speaking at the site of sand mining on the beaches of Gunjur, Ahmed Manjang bemoaned: " "The sand mining was supposed to stop at a certain point but they continue to encroach more thereby removing any barrier to the Atlantic Ocean . You can see the level of destruction. The black soil is very fertile and women used to grow rice in the ensuing season but that's being taken away.They are also cutting through the last remaining local forest reserved by the Touray Kunda clan which serves as barrier between us and the elements and is also being removed . "I am serving notice to the Gambian government to act quickly or the people of Gunjur will act.This place belongs to The Gambia ,but we the people of Gunjur are the ones staying here. This is our livelihood. We are not going to allow people to come and destroy it while we are here . We are the chief custodians and we have been reporting and documenting this issue ,but the government is refusing to act decisively". The British trained, Saudi Arabia - based scientist, added in a plaintive appeal: "This cannot continue. This also affects women's gardens which is their livelihood they depend on to put food on the table and play their children's school fees. If the government of The Gambia doesn't do anything the people of Gunjur will use all legal means to stop it immediately".
Lamin Mbakau Jammeh , also an environmental activist,said:
" Sand mining has caused destruction in this community. When we came with the minister we planted a peg at a point where they should stop and not to go beyond five meters ,but they have exceeded that to eight meters. I called the ministry (Environment) today to tell them this must stop. If it doesn't concern them enough the people of Gunjur will do something within a week even if it means bringing together the youths to stop it".
Photos: Courtesy of Ahmed Manjang and Lamin (Mbakau) Jammeh of Gunjur Environmental Concern Group.
Editors's Note: Views expressed in this story are the views of the people quoted in the story. They do not necessarily represent position of @Gunjur - The Voice of Dabanani. However, we do believe that The Gambia government must act swiftly to end the damage as reported in this story.