Gambia: Chinese Factory Is Polluting Nyambai Forest
By Mustapha Jallow
Staff of the Forestry Department have accused a Chinese factory that burns tires within the periphery of Nyambai Forest of polluting the environment.
When this reporter visited the factory he found two officials attached to the Brikama Nyambai Forest Park who told him that they normally see workers coming in and out of the factory. Bringing in old tires, but when they enquired, they were told that the Chinese proprietors were burning the waste tires.
‘‘The factory’s main gates are always kept closed and at night, we see black smoke coming from inside the factory,” the Forest Park officials said.
They added that they have made attempts to stop the Company from polluting the environment, especially the new nursery plants within the forest, but to no avail.
Upon his arrival at the main gate of the Chinese factory to enquire about the burning of the tires and the emission of black smoke, the factory Manager denied this reporter entry, but confirmed that they burn waste tires at the said factory.
However the Manager said he does not know what the Chinese produce from the old tire.
“The owners of the factory are a couple from China. They have travelled few days ago and before leaving, they told me not to allow anybody to enter until they return.
We bring old tires and burn them, while the Chinese couple process the burnt product. I do not know where they sell the product or which country they export it to, after burning waste tires,’’ the factory Manager said.
While speaking to the manager, a white tanker arrived to enter the factory, but the Manager quickly rushed to the driver and asked him to drive back as he was having conversation with strangers regarding ongoing production at the factory.
Residents living nearby say this is the only factory within the area that denies entrance to people and closes its doors twenty four hours a day to people.
All other Companies within their vicinity open their gates to anyone who comes to enquire or do business with them. There is no signboard shows what the factory does as business or what they produce and/or export within or outside the country.
An officer of the Nyambai Forest Park who begged for anonymity, said the Chinese factory started operations since 2016.
The staff said the factory’s operations have left some serious and negative environmental impacts on their nursery plants within the forest, as a result of the black smoke that emanates from the burnt tires.
“You cannot burn waste tires without getting something out of it. No one knows what they are producing or exporting out of these tires. I went there to ask them to stop the pollution because it affects our nursery plants and human life as well, but I was denied entrance.
What do they have to hide from the public?
This is a big puzzle that needs to be unearthed,’’ the Forest officer said.
The anonymous Forest officer said some Government officials visited the said factory but since then, nothing has been said and this is a major concern to them and the people living in close proximity to the forest and the said factory.
He called on the authorities to take the issue seriously and investigate and inform the people of what is going on at the said factory, before it is too late.
He expressed the concern that the factory is producing and exporting things which they do not see or know.
“No signboard is there to show anything that relates to this factory and what they produce. Their gates have always remained closed. They buy lots of fire wood to burn the old tires inside the factory,’’ he said.
He is also wary about the secrecy of the factory’s operation and calls for intervention to stop the emission of the thick black smoke that affects people’s lives and destroys nursery plants within the forest.
Foroyaa will get in touch with the proprietors upon their return as well as the relevant departments and agencies to discuss the issues raised.