By Louise Jobe
A native of Gunjur has complained bitterly to this medium about the activities of a company operating in that community. The company is said to be engaged in fish and other feed meal processing and production, but that they dump all waste emanating from the production of such feed meals indiscriminately, along the coastline and sometimes even on the road, linking Gunjur and Kartong.
This reporter visited the said factory to ascertain the facts and inform the readership accordingly. According to this reporter, the strong odour of rotten fish is what greets anyone who goes to visit the area, not to talk about the pollution it is causing to the mangrove swamp close by. It has been disclosed to this reporter that the factory is run by two Chinese nationals going by the names Rogin and Jojo.
At the gate of the factory, this reporter found seven container trucks, fully loaded with fish, waiting to discharge the cargo; that all the fish was rotten and the filthy smelly water from these trucks can be seen spilling towards the coast line on the beach close by.
This reporter made attempts to talk to the proprietors but to no avail. Inside the factory one could see Chinese workers adequately protecting themselves with heavy clothing whilst their Gambian counterparts had nothing to protect them from the vevy foul odour.
One fisherman who was contacted said, the rotten fish that is dumped in the sea, is brought back by waves on the beach. These, according to our reporter, could be seen lying on the beaches used as the landing sites of boats, thereby causing a lot of discomfort to people around the beach.
Mr. Seedy Touray who runs a lodge complained that the foul odour and pollution caused by this factory is so serious that the health of an entire community is at risk. Mr. Touray strongly calls on the government especially the minister in charge of fisheries, to visit and see for themselves the degree of harm caused by the operation of this factory.
‘‘We would like to inform the authorities to look into our concerns as regard the serious pollution caused by this Chinese factory. Sometimes some rotten fish will be taken to the bush, to be dumped by the roadside towards Kartong village. The factory is therefore a threat to lives and livelihoods, tourism, the mangroves, the ecosystem and animals,’’ Mr. Touray said.
One Mustapha Manneh of Kartong village revealed to this reporter of a planned demonstration by the community of Kartong, on Saturday, to protest against the malpractices of the said factory that pose a serious health and environmental risk for the communities of both Gunjur and Kartong.
Many people who spoke to this reporter claim that even to eat, sleep or recreate is a problem. Some complain of difficulty to eat in nearby restaurants because of the foul smell.