20 March 2019

Gambia: Forestry Director Accuses Anonymous Company of Polluting Forest

Muhammed Jaiteh, the Director of the Forestry Department on Tuesday, March 19th 2019, said a Chinese Factory that operates within Nyambai forest, is polluting their forest park.

Jaiteh said the disposal of tyre wastes on the ground can also lead to water pollution.

Jaiteh made this statement during an interview with this reporter barely four days after forestry staff accused an anonymous company in the area, of pollution.

"Our concern is the pollution and its effects on our trees. The Chinese throw waste tires on the ground and this can lead to ground water pollution because there are some water tanks within the factory," the director said. He lamented that the pollution has an environmental impact, especially on trees within the forest park, but as well as human lives.

According to Forestry Director Jaiteh, the department of Forestry and the National Environmental Agency visited the said factory and discovered that the Chinese were burning tires; but that they do not know what the Factory produces.

"After our visit to the factory, the NEA promised that they will do a follow-up visit to ensure that they follow the Environmental Regulation Act. But since our visit, I did not receive any information yet regarding what has happened to their assessment regarding the pollution by the factory," he said.

"I did not see anything that factory produces except the burning of old tires. You can see the thrown remains of burnt tires and black smoke that affects our trees. Also there are boreholes within the area and this can pose as a health risk that can pollute ground water," he said.

He confirmed that some senior Government officials also visited the factory. Jaiteh said the land given to the Chinese, was given to them by another institution. He said the Forestry Department is working to regularize the situation.

This reporter also contacted the Deputy Director under the Ministry of Lands Modou-Lamin Jammeh, to shed light on their knowledge of the said factory operating anonymously within the premises of Nyambai Forest. In his response, Jammeh responded that they are not aware of any factory operating in the said forest area. Further investigations will continue by this reporter, to bring this issue to light.

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