The village of Gunjur in the Gambia is making an urgent call for help to the international community as the Gambian government is still allowing the Golden Lead factory in Gunjur to operate. ‘They are poisoning our environment and we fear for our health’ is what locals are saying.
‘Dead animals are found everywhere since the factory is operating. We see our environment being plundered right in front of our own eyes. It hurts us to see our government is doing nothing. They are allowed to operate their factory and plunder our ocean while we have to witness and live in their destruction. Look what they did to our wildlife reserve? How is it possible that anyone can get away with this. This factory needs to close down now!’
Golden lead factory is responsible for the destruction
There were many incidents last month according to the Golden Lead factory in Gunjur in the Gambia. First it appeared that the factory made a pipeline straight into the ocean. The beaches were covered in dead fish that died because of the toxic waste water from this factory. The factory was caught with illegal dumpings of fish around the village. The rotting fish was causing many problems for local people. Later, villagers found out that there was another pipeline straight to Fenyo Bolong Wildlife Reserve. An important wildlife reserve for birds and other animals. The situation is that bad that we could speak about a national environmental disaster which took place.
They are dividing us
The factory owners are dividing the local villagers. They bring sugar to the village elders, but local youths say ‘Don’t take sugar from the owners. They are dividing us and this needs to be stopped. People’s lives could be at risk, this situation is very dangerous. The Chinese are playing with us right now’.
Our environment is under attack
The complete Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve seems to be destroyed. Toxic waters of the Bolong killed small fish, many crabs and now even our Caspian Terns start to die because they eat the toxic fishes. Kids are even seen playing in the water. Bird watchers and environmentalist could cry; ‘Our entire ecosystem is poisoned by this factory and they are still allowed to operate. We fear for our health and our future. It is insane a company is allowed to cause so much destruction, we are the ones who have to pay for this. This situation is insane’.
Lodge owners fear for their future
Local lodge owners in Gunjur and Kartong also fear for their future. Some of the lodges did not even have one tourist this season. The lodge owners blame the factory of this problem. ‘Some days it is not possible to breath, the smell of the factory is so intense. We did not have any tourists this year. A lot of tourists are more aware of this problem then our government itself.
World Ocean Day
Today World Ocean Day was celebrated. Environmentalist Mustapha Manneh from Kartong Gunjur Environmental Task Force together with the Gunjur Project cleaned the beaches today together with a motivated group of people. The locals keep doing whatever they can to keep their environment clean and healthy. Today they removed huge amounts of plastic from our beaches.
We demand urgent action now!
Our government should be there to protect us. We have been sending our pictures to the government but still no action is taken and the factory is allowed to operate. We feel unheard. We feel threatened. We fear for our future. We demand our government to take care of us and stop these operations now. We need a very proper investigation about what’s going on here. Our lives are at seriously at risk.
Hereby we urgently want to ask the international community to raise awareness and pressure our government to safe us. We feel we have no choice as our own government is letting us down and even bring us in a very dangerous situation. Please everybody who reads this message share it with your friends and network and make the world aware about what’s happening here in the Gambia.
Blog by: Musa Manneh
How you can help / support the locals:
– Share this article with everyone on FB & Twitter
– Support the Facebook page ‘Stop Golden Lead Factory’
– Join Gambian Environmentalist Youth Board
– Support Green Wall Warriors on Facebook