Bolong Fenyo Wildlife reserve, after the chinese came and installed a pipeline for their waste water
Bolong Fenyo Wildlife reserve, after the chinese came and installed a pipeline for their waste water

While member states of UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) are celebrating biodiversity day- under the theme: “our biodiversity, our food, our health”!

The Chinese Fishmeal company- Golden Lead were busy yesterday discharging waste water into the wetlands ecosystem of Bolongfenyo Wildlife Reserve in Gunjur.

The ecosystem of Bolongfenyo area is a legally gazetted protected area co-managed by the Community of Gunjur and Department of Parks and Wildlife Management. The associated environment serves as breeding and nesting ground for green turtles and waterfowl species.

Although the area is not a RAMSAR site but it is highly ecological sensitive area and provide habitats for migratory species of birds. Each year during the annual waterfowl census, the researchers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife and their partners conduct waterfowl counts in the area.

In addition the wetland ecosystem is utilized by other species of wildlife and the humans- especially our women folks engage in vegetable gardening in the near by settlements.

Tourist were spreading pictures with other dead mammals found on the beach on Facebook
The amount of dead animals washing up along the Gambia’s beaches is alarming. This picture was made last year near Golden Lead’s Fishmeal Factory

It is heartbreaking to watch these videos showing irresponsible act by the unscrupulous investors with no regard to our environmental laws, as well the livelihood and health of our poor local coastal communities who depend on these ecosystem for daily activities.

Department of Parks and Wildlife is not only a Focal Point for UNCBD but also the Convention on Migratory Species(CMS) and RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, all which have stake in the protection of Bolongfenyo ecosystem.

In addition the National Environment Agency is the Focal point for Abidjan Convention- protecting our coastal and marine environment.

Like wise Department of Fisheries, designated authority or institution representing us at the Subregional Fisheries Commission and at the UN Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS).

I don’t see why all these institutions could sit and watch these level of environmental violations happening in our country, yet doing very little to help stop the issue forthwith.

Signing/ratifying International Conventions does not only stop at attending Conference Of Parties (COP) meetings but also abiding to the obligations of the conventions we are signatory to.

I hope the Department of Parks and Wildlife will engage the National Environment Agency through the National Coastal and Marine Environment Working Group to convene a urgent meeting and a take swift action against Golden Lead for seriously violating the National Environment Management Act (1994).

bolong fenyo wildlife reserve
Local kids look at their Bolong Fenyo Wildlife Reserve which was poisoned by the Chinese Golden Lead Company in Gunjur. This was two years ago, and now the same thing is happening again.

What is happening in Gambia is really sad! Our wetlands and water bodies are being polluted at alarming rate, our wildlife and wild areas are disappearing faster than they regenerate themselves, our fish and marine resources are being overexploited with no regard for the future.

And these are the very resources our poor communities depend on for their livelihood. If for nothing let’s pity our parents who are struggling each day to provide food on the table for our families.

The pigs in China don’t need our fisheries more than our citizens. Our government should know better and stop mortgaging us for your individual interest.

Allah is not sleeping, we will all be accounted for our actions one day while serving in public offices.

By Famara Drammeh (Environmentalist and former NEA employee)

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