Gambia’s Information Minister Provides “Clarifications on the Golden Lead Situation”

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By Demba D A Jawo

There has been a lot of debate surrounding some environmental issues involving Golden Lead, the Chinese fish processing plant in Gunjur. Of course, the government welcomes public debate on issues of national concern and the environment is one such issue. Therefore, it is incumbent on the government to clarify the situation so that the public would get the correct picture rather than depending on rumours and innuendos.

The government is of course as concerned as everyone else about any threat to the environment in Gunjur and everywhere else in the country. Therefore when people started raising concern about possible pollution of the environment by the discharge of the waste from the plant, the National Environment Agency (NEA) not only made sure that the plant properly treated the waste before it was discharged into the sea but the Agency also took samples of the treated waste to one of the most reputable labs in Africa, the Pasteur Institute in Dakar for testing, and the results showed that the treated waste was not toxic and therefore posed no environmental hazard either to the community or to the flora and fauna.

However, the NEA did not only stop there but insisted that the waste pipe is extended to a minimum of 350 metres into the sea in order to minimize any possibility of the waste getting back on the beach, and we are made to understand that the pipe has gone well beyond that distance.

Therefore, the people of the community of Gunjur and its surroundings are being reassured by the government that there is no threat to the environment from the activities of Golden Lead plant and that the NEA and all those concerned will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that any possible breach of the status quo will be promptly addressed.

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