By Sulyaman Bokar Bah
Memo to the Gunjur Environmentalists
It is interesting that the Gambia is woefully failing under its domestic and international obligations to protect its coastal environment.
Under the foundational principles of international environmental law, “the right to a healthy environment”, is as important as “the right to life.”
This is why the Gambia is a signatory to many international instruments to protect the environment and human life including the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.
Pursuant to Article 145 and Article 146 of the UNCLOS, the Gambia should apply necessary measures to ensure effective protection for the marine environment from harmful activities.
Under article 145 of the UNCLOS, the Gambia as a State Party must adopt appropriate rules, regulations and procedures for inter alia:
(a) “The prevention, reduction and control of pollution and other hazards to the marine environment including the coastline and of interference with the ecological balance of the marine environment, particularly attention being paid to the need for protection from harmful effects of such activities as drilling, dredging, excavation, disposal of waste, construction and operation or maintenance of installations, pipelines and other devices related to such activities.”
(b) “The protection and conservation of the natural resources area and the prevention of damage to the flora and fauna of the marine environment.
In addition to this, under article 146 of the UNCLOS, the Gambia as a State Party must take necessary measures “to ensure effective protection of human life.”
While nations are developing gradual legal protections for their environments, the Gambia is not progressively responding to the situation in Gunjur.