Is Golden Lead Polluting The Lagoon Again?
The Executive Director of Gunjur Environmental Protection And Development Group (GEPADG) Badara Njie-Bajo has accused Golden Lead company of reneging on its promises to the Gambian authorities to clean up the factory's toxic waste around a lagoon by Gunjur beach. Locally called 'Bolong Fenyo', the site provides a sanctuary for turtles, birds and other aquatic creatures.
Mr Njie-Bajo said his group has seen fresh instances of pollution in the lagoon during a recent turtle monitoring and evaluation exercise. GEPADG has also came across a partially unearthed pipework around the factory arousing suspicion that the Chinese company is discreetly discharging oily substance into the sea. Speaking about the importance of the 'Bolong Fenyo' project, Mr Njie-Bajo said "this is the first community wildlife reserve in the Gambia. It was a Global Environment Facility, World Bank and World Wildlife Fund three year funded project". GEPADG director also pointed out the importance of wild plants in the area noting that mangroves stabilise coastal erosion. GEPADG said the site is a hotbed for turtle nesting and home to some internationally threatened species.
In what appears to be a shift from reliance on local fishermen for supply, a local environmental activist has reported that the Chinese company has launched two of its own fishing trawlers at sea while a third is under construction at the Gunjur beach.
The activist, Bunama Jatta, said while there is a moratorium on night fishing imposed on local canoes by the ministry of fisheries, the two Chinese trawlers are sailing at night and appear to be exempted from the ban. Golden Lead Company is currently facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of Gunjur by Environmental Concerned Group and Gunjur Environmental Protection And Development Group (GEOADG). Lawyers for the coastal settlement are demanding 15 million Dalasis for damages and other costs from the fishmeal company. The case is adjourned to October 25th.