sprawling coastal community of Sanyang is mourning the reopening of Nassim
Fishmeal Factory barely six months after it was officially closed by
authorities. The community said they fear the industrial operations of the
factory as it lays down its waste pipe into the sea.
Owned by a Mauritanian business tycoon, Nassim was officially shut down on June 30, 2018, by The Gambia government after a peaceful protest by the community who accused the company of disposing toxic chemical waste on their agricultural lands as well as releasing uncontrolled industrial smoke filled with bad odour.
The news of reopening of the fishmeal hit the community at a Friday meeting with stakeholders and officials from the National Environment Agency NEA. During the meeting, it was revealed that the factory has met all its environmental requirements and that the government had to grant them the right to operate.
Lamin Jawla, the proprietor of Rainbow Beach Bar and Restaurant, in an interview with The Point said the community of Sanyang has been viewed by the tourism industry to be one of the most attractive sites for tourism, adding that over half of the youths in the community are currently employed by the industry.
He said that any time the fishmeal factory operates or try to test its machines, the entire tourism area within the community is polluted, forcing some tourists to leave the place even in the midst of ordering their meals.
“It will be very confusing from the site of the government, trying to tell us that the fishmeal factory has now met all its environmental requirements,” he said.
Famara Jadama, president of Sanyang Fisheries Committee said the government should revisit its decision of reopening the fishmeal industry.
He argued that if the said waste pipe is laid direct into the ocean, the local fishing industry will face so many difficulties. He added that the fishmeal’s operation can cause fish shortage in the community.
“We have to be very careful of the new fishing techniques currently ongoing in our waters. This is because the kind of fishing techniques and the types of nets used by the company can even create a negative impact on the supply of fish to the local markets.” he warned.