Since two years now a true silent ecocide is happening in the coastal villages of the Gambia. This is how a small Chinese company in Africa is able to enrich themselves, terrorize an entire village and destroy it’s environment.
In 2016, former president Jammeh invited Chinese companies to the Gambia. This is where the environmental ecocide of the Gambia has begun. Before 2016 there were no Chinese fishmeal factories operating and the Gambian tourism industry was booming.
This rapidly changed in two years. If nothing is done to stop the environmental degradation and overfishing problems the country is dealing with. The consequences will be worse then you could ever imagine.
So, what is going on in The Gambia?
- Since two years fishmeal factories started operating along the Gambian coastline
- Many environmental crimes were the consequence of this so-called development
- Tourism, the Gambia’s most sustainable source of income is in serious danger
- Gambia’s fish stocks are collapsing, fish prices at markets are skyrocketing
- There is no control in fishing, overfishing has become a huge problem
- Fishmeal Factories are allowed to dump their untreated waste into the ocean by the Gambian government
- Large numbers of dead washed up marine animals
Large numbers of wildlife are disappearing
From our connections we know that since two years no leatherback turtle has been spotted in the Gambia. This is the largest sea turtle that lives along the West-African coastline. We could see this species as extinct now. Sharks are massively overfished for their fins and have become very rare in the Gambia. Sawfish already have gone extinct many years ago.
To give you any idea of the amount of animals that washed up we will give you small update of our reports from this year. Most of the findings of dead animals happened to be around Gunjur but went up to the tourist area in the north of the country.
Last year we had many reports of dead washed up animals like dolphins and sea turtles. We even came across tourists who were sharing pictures with the many dead animals on Facebook. They were asking themselves what is going on, it was utterly shocking. Last week, another fish eating pilot whale was found at Gunjur’s beach.
‘This is a true ecocide. We caught the parents and we are catching the babies now’
We should be very worried about our environment. Nature is giving us many signs things are going wrong, but human greed seems to be the biggest problem. The local fishermen are catching all the baby fish now to provide the fishmeal factories.
The problem is that the fishmeal factory is sending the fishermen back because their catch is under the legal size. So the angry fishermen dump their catch into the sea. But still all these fish are killed for nothing. The total lack of control and marine reserves is rapidly declining the Gambia’s fish stocks.
How many fishmeal factories does the Gambia have?
- There is the very large JXYG fishmeal factory operating in Kartong. This factory covers the size of at least two football fields. The amounts of fish processed are unknown, but most be shocking.
- Then, there is the notorious Golden Lead Factory based in Gunjur. This factory has committed countless environmental crimes. The factory bribed the Gunjur police which started to harass local environmentalists. The factory owners are famous for bribing police and village elders with bags of rice, sugar and flower.
- The Nissim Fishmeal Factory. The community complained that the fish meal Company polluted their environment since inception and has rendered many gardens uncultivable, leading to their protest
- A new factory is as we speak being built near Denton Bridge. It is sure and confirmed that this will be another fishmeal factory. We can’t provide anymore details because they are still unknown.
Overfishing is out of control and will run us straight into a famine
The amount of fish that is processed by these factories daily is beyond your imagination. The Chinese are making huge profits over our resources. This of course is completely unsustainable and will cause major problems within a few years.
Fish prices at local markets are skyrocketing and it’s getting more difficult for local people to get their daily protein everyday. People might have jobs now, but will have nothing once all the fish is gone. We need to manage our fishing sector wisely if we want to keep feeding the next generation of Gambians. A famine is a scary word to use, but is very likely if we continue exploiting ourselves like we are doing now.
What are the pros en cons of fishmeal factories for Gambians?
Some local people find jobs by working in the factories or providing the factories with fish. The police, government and village elders all get a bit better from these factories because they are bribed by the owners. The government is likely to be receiving a percentage (tax) for the export of the fishmeal to China.
This so-called ‘development’ unfortunately has more cons then pros. The incredible stench of the factories is scaring tourists away and local lodge owners are fearing for their businesses. The beaches are covered in dead fish some days. Huge numbers of marine animals are washing up the beaches since the fishmeal factories are operational. Everyday massive amounts of untreated, dangerous, waste water is pumped into the ocean. All Gambians are eating the fish that is swimming in this waste water.
How Golden Lead Factory is terrorizing Gunjur village
Bribing and threatening local people
The Golden Lead Factory owners destroyed Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve by dumping their waste water straight into the reserve. When local environmentalist raise the alarm bells they are even threatened by these same people who come to visit their houses. This happened to environmentalist Omar. A. Saho when agents came inside is house to threaten his wife. They offered him 1000 dollars if he would shut his mouth. This was reported to the police who did nothing with the complaint.
Local youths caged like animals
Local youths who were preparing a peaceful protest with hand drawn papers and a banner were brutally arrested by police and locked up. We were absolutely shocked to see the police treat people they way they did. By bribing the village elders the Chinese are creating a huge gap between the youths and the village elders. This of course has a very negative influence at the local community.
Golden Lead installed an illegal pipeline on public beach
When Golden Lead arrived and installed their factory they also installed an illegal pipeline on the public beach of Gunjur. This pipeline was here totally illegal. Massive amounts of dead fish washed up the beaches of Gunjur and local people removed the pipeline. Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh led the campaign. They were in their full right to remove this pipe which was illegally installed.
Local people pay the price for illegal pipeline installed by GL factory
Golden Lead owners were seen bribing the local police and factory owners with bags of rice, sugar and flower. Many months later Dr. Janneh was arrested, with all lack of respect, during a funeral of his family member. Prosecution accused Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh of “willfully and unlawfully damaging the discharge pipes valued at fifty thousand United States dollars (D50, 000) the property of Golden Lead import and export company.” This is how Golden Lead is destroying lives of people who just want to live in a healthy environment. If these Chinese people would not have come here none of this would have happened.
What does the Barrow Government about it?
The Gambian government is totally aware of the countless environmental crimes that are committed by Chinese factory owners. But instead of arresting the factory owners for installing illegal pipelines, people from Gunjur are now arrested and prosecuted by there own government for willfully and unlawfully damaging the discharge pipes. You can imagine that the government has created a gap between them and the Gunjurians by showing the village a deaf ear for almost two years.
It’s a long, heartbreaking and difficult story. But in conclusion, this how a small Chinese company is able to terrorize a whole village in Africa. Bribing the people who are in power, and trying to make as much money as possible in a very short time. Plundering is what we call this, not development. These people will soon be gone with their pockets full of money. Gone with the fishes. It’s time to raise the alarm bells for the deaf.
Please share and spread the word. We have no time to waste.
By: Green World Warriors
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