Biomedical scientist Mr Ahmed Manjang is ringing the alarm bells in order to save the Gambia’s environment and future. We are allowing foreign investors to operate fishmeal factories to overfish our waters and pollute our environment. ‘What if all the fish is gone, are we going to eat each other?’. In this article you will find Mr. Manjang’s story completed with all the evidence in video.
Every Gambian should hear biomedical scientist Mr. Manjang’s explaining the facts
Gunjur’s watersystem is poisoned with dioxines
Along our south coast we find a lot of lodges. We already have people who are infected by skin infections. This is related to the illegal dumpings of waste by the Golden Lead factory. Their waste is pumped into the ocean and Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve by underground pipelines releasing incredible amounts of dioxines.
This waste water contains ammonia and sulfide which create dioxines. Mr Manjang explains how dioxines work. Dioxines take away all the oxygen present in the water, as a result of this everything that breathes under water will die. This explains the massive wash ups of dead fish everyday along our south coast.
People with different forms of cancer will show up soon
This polluted wastewater is coming into our systems now. Our cattle drink from it. When new grass is growing after the raining season, this grass will be concentrated with these dioxines. If cattle eats this grass these dioxines will be stored into the fat of the animals.
We eat our cattle and we will have the dioxines in our system. Mr Manjang expects that within a few years the first people with different forms of cancer will show up. In the first movie you will see how people’s houses are destroyed by the factory’s waste water and how the waste water is getting into our system.
We cannot sustain this way of fishing for even one year
Our Bonga fish a the cheapest way of protein in the Gambia. Right now the production capacity of this factory is 500 tons of fish which is equal to 11.000 bags of rice. They catch this amount of fish everyday now. So, if they have a factory which is at least three times bigger then this one, we are talking about at least 44.000 bags of rice (refering to the Bonga fish) per day. Mr Manjang is pointing to the giant fishmeal factory which is build in Kartong and to be opened soon.
If the other factory in Sanyang is realized this will go up to 55.000 bags of rice equal in weight to the fish. They pull this amount of Bonga fish out of our ocean every day. That will a be a total amount of 20.075.000 kg of fish caught per year and 90% of this fish products will me exported to China. So that will be 18 million kg of fish that is vanishing from our ocean straight to China*.
They are going to catch 55.000 bags of rice equal in weight to the fish per day. How do we think we can sustain this?
This is not development but a major threat to our health
Our fish is getting smaller everyday. Mr Manjang talks about the giant Bonga fish his mum used to bring home. But now we don’t see them anymore. Our fish stocks in our ocean are trying to regenerate, but in this massive industrial fishing scale our fish stocks have absolutely no change to regenerate. We cannot sustain this way of fishing for even one year! We are going to kill ourselves this way.
Bonga is the only affordably protein and rapidly disappearing
For most Gambians Bonga fish is the only protein they can afford, if we take this protein out of their system people are going to get sick and our healthcare system is already broken. Omega-3 is a very important nutrient which can only be found in oily fish like Bonga. This is very important for pregnant women. If you have an oily diet the change of having a healthy baby which is fully mentally developed is 99.9%.
The Chinese people completely neglect the health and safety of their staff
The way we fish is unsustainable and is a major threat to our diets because fish is on the bottom of our food chain. The Chinese people who are investing and fishing here completely neglect the health and safety of their staff. If you go there you see none of the people working their wearing face masks or safety boots. This is a direct threat to their health. Another fact is that the NEA is claiming they are not using chemicals. But you need something to clean the inside of the factory. This have to be chemicals because it is extreme slippery and the only way to get rid of it is by using chemicals. So it is not true they are not using any chemicals.
Many, many trucks completely filled up with fish are supplying the factory all day long
In this factory said it invested two million in Gunjur. But I can tell you now, the oil they produce and export is worth much more money then that. One kilo of the light oil they produce and export is between 90 en 12 dollars. Billions of dollars are made here.
Why can’t our government just invest in us?
Then Mr Manjang starts to get upset. This government could invest this money also in our own community by building a smaller Gambian factory. The technologies to establish this are not rocket science. Why can’t our government just invest in us? Now we export everything instead of using it ourselves because every Gambian needs it.
For a very very cheap price these Chinese people are making billions and send it to their country. If you look at their building you can see they are temporary. After a time they will just pack up and go. And then, what do we Gambians get, are we going to eat each other? We are only fighting for a sustainable and healthy future. We are not after anybody, nobody wants to see your fellow citizen to lose their job, but we are fighting for them, our welfare and our future.
Our government is not really helping. The factory is still allowed to operate after paying a small fine of 25.000 and the pipes are still in the ocean. People feel not protected and supported by their own government which is a very sad thing.
After a time they will just pack up and go. And then, what do we Gambians get, or we going to eat each other?
An urgent call to the factory workers
My fellow Gambians, Senegalese or whoever is working in that factory, I advise you from the bottom of my heart. I would never ever want to see anybody losing his job, but if your job is going to kill you down the line within even one or two years, I want you to lose this job. This action is to protect the health and safety of you people who are working there. You are my number one priority. We, the people of Gunjur will promise you that, now we live with a democratic government, we are ready to create employment opportunities.
This is a West African issue. The fish in the Chinese sea already depleted in the eighties so they start fishing all over the world. Especially in West Africa because of the lack of patrols and the rich fishing grounds. Right now there are 3000 fishing trawlers fishing in the West African waters. Many of them are stealing and are not even registered. It’s not only the fishmeal factories but all these fishing activities together that are going to bring us in great danger soon. We need a massive change of thinking within all West African governments.
Support the people of Gunjur
Also Mr Ousman Manjang has his thought about what is happening in the Gambia
*Mr Manjang did not mentioned this but we calculated this based on the given information