community of Sanayang in Kombo South District on Wednesday dug out the wastepipe
of Nissim Fishmeal Factory and set it on fire in defiance of its reopening.
Owned by a Mauritanian business tycoon, Nissim 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 community said they fear the industrial operations of the factory as it lays down its waste pipe into the sea and is now granted operation by government.
Recently, youths and some tourists who are currently lodged at the community’s beach complained of losing their businesses since the company restarted its operations.
Ebrima Sanyang, a local and a shop owner who sells locally made tourists’ products at the beach said he entirely gains his living from the shop and also settles some of his family financial matters.
He added that he was defiant against the reopening of the fishmeal because that is the only source of income for him.
“Look this is very sad and worrying,” he said, adding that if the waste pipe of Nassim releases its toxic liquid waste into the sea, it affects them.
“I wanted to say here that we are totally disappointed with the actions taken by the government to allow such a factory in a tourism site like Sanyang.”
Sheriff K. Bojang, former VDC chair and now the chief supervisor of Nissim Fishmeal Company said the manner and attitude taken by the community to dig out and burn the waste pipe is very illegal and undone.
Mr. Bojang, who has been accused of allowing the establishment of the factory without the prior consultation of the whole community said the disposal of the liquid waste into the sea is harmless as revealed by experts.
He said workers at the factory were threatened by the youths at the beach when they started laying down their waste pipe into the sea, adding sometimes they have to leave the work place and close late to avoid any confrontation.
“This is very illegal and received all kinds of threats from people,” he said.