Gambia: Climate Change, Rising Sea Levels, Mooring of Trawlers Within Wetlands

PROTECT OUR WETLANDS AT ALL COST

WE OWE IT TO THE FUTURE GENERATION

Rising sea levels posed by the threats and impacts of climate change and the possible consequences of this on mangrove swamps at the Denton Bridge Creek of the River Gambia in the Greater Banjul Area and Western Kombo, remains a concern for the livelihoods of the citizenry.

And if the health of the mangroves are threatened as they currently are by the mooring of Chinese fishing trawlers, the consequences will be felt much earlier and at a more devastating pace than later.

One common path of entry by contaminants to the sea is rivers. An example is the direct discharge of sewage and industrial waste into the ocean. Pollution such as this occurs particularly in developing nations.

In fact, the first largest emitter of oceanic pollution worldwide is China, and the Mekong River which is shared by China and her neighbors, account for 90 percent of all marine pollution that reaches the world's oceans.

The contamination of water bodies usually as a result of human activity causes water pollution. This is caused when contaminants are introduced into the natural environment, such as inadequately treated wastewater. This leads to degradation of aquatic ecosystems and leads to public health problems for people living within such water bodies. Marine and water pollution is said to be the leading cause of death and disease worldwide, due to water-borne diseases that emanates from them.

In the case of the type of pollution of the mangrove at the Denton Bridge creek, mooring Chinese fishing vessels brace themselves as the looming polluters of the area, with their vessels acting as industrial fish processing factories, with all the type of pollution that goes with fish processing. A good example of this is what is happening at the Golden Lead and other fishmeal factories in Gunjur and other coastal areas where marine pollution is identified as coming from these fishmeal processing factories.

At the Golden Lead factory, a waste pipe runs from the factory to the sea, transporting waste water filled with chemical contaminants from the processed fish. A similar situation may happen at the Denton Bridge creek with mooring of Chinese fishing vessels which if it goes unchecked, will result in a massive ecological catastrophe for generations yet unborn.

Equally, the unchecked exploitation of the mangrove for construction and fuel-wood by the concerned authorities can be detrimental to the creek and the rest of the wetland, as builders and those in need of wood as fuel, encroach the creek.

The Government and the Ministry of Fisheries in particular, should know that many families get their livelihoods from the mangrove at the Denton Bridge creek. Oyster harvesters and fishermen are no exception to this fact. The destruction of the Denton Bridge creek mangroves will spell disaster for most of these families, if the Government of the day does not act now, to stop the mooring of these Chinese fishing vessels and the indiscriminate exploitation of the area by unscrupulous individuals.

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