Gambian lawmakers halt operations of Nessim fish meal processing plant in Sanyang
The Environment Select Committee of the National Assembly of the Gambia has until further notice, closed down the operations of a Fish meal processing plant on Sanyang beach in Kombo South, The Gambia.
The move followed the visit of the lawmakers' select committee on environment at various sites within the country that are marred with allegations of environmental pollution and depletion of the natural resources of these communities. Nissim Fish meal factory in Sanyang is believed to be the fourth of such fish meal processing plants on the south coast of The Gambia that are accused of polluting the environment through pungent smells from their factories and the discharge of untreated liquid and solid waste into the environment. The visits by the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment follows a round table meeting with the representatives of concerned youth groups led by Sulayman Bojang and some environmental activists in Kombo to hear first hand account of the concerns of the environmental activists regarding the activities of these companies accused of flagrant disregard to the environments in which they are operating. Following the visits of the select committee last week, National Assembly Member for Bundung, Hon. Bakary Njie offered an insight into what the lawmakers discovered on their travels. His words: “We were in Tanji and Sanyang yesterday, 9th June, 2018. In Sanyang there is a new fish milling factory call Nessim fish factory, but if you think Gunjur is terrible hmm! Wait for our report on Sanyang. How can a fish milling factory operate without a treatment plant and Discharges both its liquid and solid waste which is stinky on our main road to fill potholes and many more??? Surely that is not environmental friendly. This report will be interesting!” Honourable MP Njie continued to assure the general public that it will not be business as usual when it comes to matters concerning environmental health of the nation. He declared: “National Assembly's oversight function is the single most important role to the progress of a country. This is the role of checks and balances. It makes sure that the executive do what they are suppose to do. This is why we want to make sure that business is not as usual in our beloved country the Gambia! We must wake some people up to make them understand business cannot be as usual any more. Those responsible will be invited to come and answer questions at the National Assembly!” Confirming the closure of the Sanyang plant to Gunjur News Online, Hon. Bakary Njie had this to say when this medium asked him if he could confirm the closure and the reasons behind the action of the select committee.
“We asked them to close because they don't have any treatment plant for their waste product” This begs the following questions: 1. How comes the company was issued an operational licence for Fishmeal production without an installation of a waste treatment plant? 2. Was there an Environmental Impact Assessment done before the green linght was given to the company to start operations? 3. Are the hands of the National Environment Agency (NEA) tied, or are they simply corrupt? Why was this not discovered and acted upon by NEA? 4. Why is the Golden Lead plant in Gunjur allowed to continue? Did they install a waste treatment plant? Where is the evidence if indeed a treatment plant has been installed? The National Assembly Select Committee on Environment must be commended for taking the bold step in enforcing their oversight function responsibility in this instance and we urge them to remain steadfast and put our country before any individual party or interests.