Bar Owners Call for Closure of Fishmeal Factory in Sanyang
Several bar owners in the coastal settlement of Sanyang has called for the immediate closure of Nassim Fishmeal factory that is located on the beach, as the odor which is being emitted by the factory poses threat to health thus creating a serious impact on their gains as well as the nearby local dwellers.
Sanyang is in Kombo South and its ‘Paradise beach’ as the area is called, is within the tourism development area, attracting a good number of tourists annually. But with the continuous occupation of fishmeal factories around the area, including Tanji and Gunjur, beach users fear that tourism business could collapse.
“We have been struggling with a very bad odor coming from the Nassim Fishmeal Factory for all these past three seasons, but recently it has gotten to a level that it has started scaring our guests away, making us to lose a good return during this time of the year,” said Lamin Jawla, Manager Rainbow Beach Bar.
He told The Chronicle that the situation is very unfortunate because they’re losing customers due to the unbearable emission and bad odor.
“We have reported this matter to the relevant authorities, but still nothing is done about it. However, we want to appeal to the tourism authorities and the government of President Adama Barrow to intervene on our behalf to remedy this awful situation we are currently enduring.”
Jawla disclosed that 34 guests had already signed out from his Rainbow Beach Bar and they have now moved to southern Senegalese Resorts of Abenneh and Kafunting.
Irene Naert, a French national and her husband Muhammed Lamin Manneh are the owners of River By The Sea Beach Bar. They also raised concerns regarding the odour emanating from the fishmeal factory, adding that waste that is being discharged from the factory into the ocean also makes it impossible for tourists to swim largely due to the pollution of the ocean waters.
“We are definitely concerned about the level of pollution that is taking place here (Sanyang Beach) because this is the place where we are investing our capitals in order to create opportunities for the youths and vulnerable and as well make living,” she said.
Naert and her Gambian husband are now contemplating as to whether they should move on with their development plan or not because in the long run, no operator will be able to bring tourists to this beach if the situation is left unaddressed.
A tourist-taxi driver, Ousainou Badjie told The Chronicle that over 500 youths from Sanyang are directly earning their livelihoods from the tourism industry, adding that the collapse of tourism in Sanyang will put a lot of livelihood in danger.
“We [the Sanyang youth] have been accused of being thieves, criminals and all other names when we used to seat at ‘Strasser’ [ghetto]. We left the Strasser and decided to come to the beach and make our living, they (authorities) want to deprive us of that too; it will never be possible.”
“What I want to tell the government is that it is better they close Nassim, because if all the youths who survive on tourism are asked to go home what will be the next consequences?” he asked.
Since 2017, when the current government took over, there have been a lot of scuffles between companies and residents of the coastal communities. Some of the conflicts such as the Chinese company, Golden Lead ended up in court with people of Gunjur before the matter was withdrawn. The police also arrested and charged the protesters for allegedly damaging some Golden Lead pipes.
Experts and the National Environment Agency have all expressed concerns on the conduct of these factories but the authorities are seemingly not interested.