The community of Gunjur and Kartong have joined on Friday to embark on a beach cleaning exercise in celebration of World Oceans Day 2017.
The group gathered a huge amount of rubbish that was littering the area.
Involved in the exercise were members of Gunjur, Madina Salam and Kartong community including environmentalists, youths, teachers, students, nurses, UK volunteers, American volunteers, Dutch volunteers, humanitarian activists, Gambian and Spanish journalists, hoteliers, catering staff and security workers.
In a statement sent to The Standard regarding the cleansing and the ongoing row over the environmental degradation, the Task Force writes:
“With so much concern around the health and well being for the people and environment of Gunjur, the KG task force has been proactive in raising awareness and arranging action to create positive change in the area.
Concerns regarding the negative impact on the area and the unknown possible health implications as a direct result of the Golden Lead Factory have been raised with every Governmental department both in person and by formal letter. However the community of Gunjur and Kartong are still patiently awaiting formal feedback and reassurance. In the meantime the factory continues to operate.
During the beach cleaning exercise, a pipe leading from Golden Lead Factory into the sea was found still in place buried under the sand. We were told that the pipe is not in use; however liquids discharging from the pipe in two different places have been observed at different times over the past few days which suggest it is still in use. The pipe should be moved immediately to restore some confidence at the very least. The protected lagoon at the community ‘bolong fenyo’ reserve has already been completely destroyed and everything dead as direct results of an unknown substance being discharged through a pipe into the waters. It will take years to reverse the effects of the damage.
The KG task force are very disappointed that a letter written to Golden Lead company over 2 weeks ago regarding waste being thrown outside of factory grounds and into ‘bolong fenyo’ poorly maintenanced and dangerous bore holes situated near our nursery school, storage tanks releasing unknown malodorous fluids into our bolong has been completely ignored and the poor practices continue. With this in mind we were not surprised that the factory did not come and join with the community activity happening outside of their doors yesterday [Friday] to clean up the beach.
However the group for the south coast which amounts to several hundreds of concerned people are not deterred in continuing to protect the local area and raising awareness. Monitoring groups have been established.