Gunjurians vow action against Golden Lead, Gambia Environmental Movement launched
Gunjurians vow action against Golden Lead as new Gambia Environmental Movement pressure group is launched. This follows the emergence of photos of dead fish on Gunjur beach as Golden Lead installs new waste pipeline into the sea.
Golden Lead Fish processing factory is being accused of further pollution of the sea at Gunjur which is a threat to fish and other aquatic lives after re-inserting a new waste pipeline into the sea; in violation of local environmental laws and wishes of the people of Gunjur. Golden Lead fish processing factory has been involved in a long running legal battle with the community over its “destruction of the environment” and release of “toxic” chemical waste into the sea. The company was first sued to court by the National Environment Agency, but the Chinese company admitted liability and settled the matter out of court following intervention from the Trade Ministry of Dr Isatou Touray. However, it is still embroiled in a civil suit filed by local environmental groups. The civil suit case resumes at the high court on 30th April. UK-trained scientist and environmental activist, Ahmed Manjang, warned that the continued dumping of untreated Fish meal processing waste will result in “reduction of oxygen” in the water, thereby killing fish and other aquatic lives. The decomposition process of Proteins from the waste of the fish meal factory sucks oxygen out of the water once it is deposited in the sea. This means that other fish and aquatic lives die because of lack of oxygen to breathe in the water. Evidence from the new photos that emerged on Wednesday shows that this may already be happening. When it was first reported that Golden Lead has installed new waste pipeline into the sea to dispose of factory waste,Mr Manjang assured of retaliation to the provocation of the Chinese owned Fish meal processing company.
His words: “We are still verifying these pictures, it seems Golden Lead Fishmeal company were out again This is a provocation of the highest order, if we establish this is true we will retaliate in equal measure. NEA and all relevant authorities were informed about this unfortunate development and we hope they will treat this matter with utmost urgency”. For his part, Lamin Touray declared the development comes as no surprise to him, while issuing an appeal for community unity in defense of the environment. His words: “I am not the least surprised about this. I was going to say exactly this and I wish I had said it earlier. "Next time they will dig deeper and harder. It seems they are struggling to sustain the disposing of their waste. I wish we can all put our differences aside and fight this common enemy. It's a bad investment and Gunjur can do without these people. We need a clear, precise and collective strategy to stand up to these people”. It could be recalled that concerned youth groups in Gunjur and Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh gave the Golden Lead company a 7 day ultimatum to remove the pipeline they use to dispose of their factory waste into the sea failure of which will results in the youths taking matters into their own hands and remove the pipeline. Golden Lead failed to remove the waste pipeline and it was removed by Dr Janneh and some youths which resulted in Dr Janneh being invited at Gunjur Police to “shed light” on the removal of the waste pipeline as part of an ongoing police investigation into the matter.
In a related development in the fight against the operations of Golden Lead factory, a nationwide environmental pressure group has been launched. Gambia Environmental Movement on Monday held their first meeting at the CommIT House in Kotu, The meeting which was chaired by Human Rights Activists Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh, was also attended by Frederich Tendeng, Lala Touray among other concerned environmental activists.
Members of Gambia Environmental Movement at a meeting held at CommIT House in Kotu
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Janneh informed the gathering that he has received assurances for help from different organisations and other pressure groups around the world, including the Institute for Human Rights And Development In Africa IFHRDI, Open Society Foundation, Africans Rising Movement, and many others.
The meeting elected an executive body, comprising of advisers, coordinator, PRO, Secretary General and a Treasurer. Lala Touray, who was elected as Secretary General implored on the movement to consolidate efforts in increasing public awareness about the menace of Golden Lead. Her words: "We cannot afford to sit by, and allow Golden Lead to continue operating in Gunjur. We are ready to fight for our rights, to stand up against Golden Lead and any other company carrying out operations which will cause harm to the environment.”
The newly established pressure group vowed to increase the public’s awareness in the environmental damages Golden Lead is causing, and to fight environmental degradation everywhere in The Gambia.