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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 02 Jun 2017 : 09:41:45
NEA DISPLEASED WITH PERFORMANCE OF GOLDEN LEAD COMPANY
BY Kebba AF Touray and Yankuba Jallow
Foroyaa: June 1, 2017
Mr. Muhammad Jadama, the Senior Program Officer of the National Environment Agency, has pointed out that a fishing company in Gunjur has flouted the country’s environmental regulations.
He made this statement during an interview with this reporter at his office on Wednesday 31/05/2017.
He said the result is the discharge of waste water in the environment as well as the obnoxious smell from the process. He said this was brought to their notice by the community watch-dogs that the investors are discharging the waste water to the ocean, upon which they wasted no time in visiting the site and took the necessary actions. He said one of the conditions given to the investors is that they were not supposed to discharge waste water from the factory into water bodies. Following that, they had a meeting with the stakeholders (Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Environment and the NEA) to show them (investors) the need to respect the environmental laws. He said that they (NEA) refused to renew their( Fishing company) license, adding they did not meet some of the requirements, which is done annually, failure of which they will be operating illegally; that they are trying to put some charges against them for violating the NEA Act. Currently he said, they are trying to make sure that the waste that is discharged from the factory to the sea does not have any chemical and that is why they went with some members of the hazardous management to ascertain that.
Talking on the results of the sampling, he revealed that most of the perameters that they were looking for are normal, except for some of the standards such as sulphate and ammonium, adding they have surpassed their standards. He cited that the PH is ok, but are concerned with sulphur and ammonium and they are trying to see what could be done about them.
On environmental protection, he said the operations of the fishing company is guided by laws and the company has to act within that framework to ensure that the environment is protected and laws are enforced as is their (NEA) mandate, and this he added can be done through monitoring, “this is why we are not resting on our oars’’, he cited. He said they have recommended to the company to employ an Environmentalist who will be advising them on environmental issues so that they will not fall in the same problem again. He reiterated that they will be taking sampling time to time to ensure that they (Fishing Company) are in compliance with the laws and standards of the country.
Mr. Jadama explained that every process has by-product which matter, adding they can be harmful or harmless. He averred that the case of pollution could be due to the process that gave rise to the waste that was discharged, because fish releases ammonium when about to decay and sulphur is also part of the gases that could be generated as the fish decomposes. Therefore, he said, the waste water that is coming from the company must have sulphur and ammonium, so the concentration of the two is what matters, and if one has 5 concentration of sulphur and ammonium and gets into the lagoon or a stagnant water, it can kill some live worms that are in there. This, he said, can take a long time to manifest those effects .He clarified that NEA would not allow them to operate, but cannot stop them from operating, noting it is not in their laws. He also emphasized that NEA can only stop them on the grounds that they (Fishing Company) don’t have license.
Jadama pointed out that the Ministry of Trade has allowed them to operate after a communiqué was sent from the Ministry of Trade to them (Fishing Company), but indicated that they are trying to build up a case and hopefully they (NEA) will take them (Fishing company) to court. He revealed that this is a multi- sectorial concern, adding that NEA, MOF,MOJ and MOT have a role to play .He affirmed that they lay the pipe on their own accord, which may have a serious reparations. Mr. Jadama finally called on all to put hands together, noting that environmental protection is a collective work.
In an earlier interview with Jojo Huang, the Director of Golden Lead Import and Export Company, she said her company produces fish oil and fish meal. She added that they buy fish from vendors and fishermen and turn them into feed meal products. She indicated that this has reduced fish spoilage caused by over fishing that used to happen, prior to the establishment of her company.
She said during the production of feed meal, they squeeze the fish to separate the water from the oil; that after the water and oil is separated, the water is drained away. She further said that they have excavated a hole where the unwanted water that is drained from the fish is kept and this hole can keep several thousands of cubic meters of this unwanted fish water.
She confirmed that at the beginning of the operation of the Company, there was a pipe that runs to the river, because too much water was used; that now they use the drainage system like that of Coco Ocean. She said there is no chemical involved in the unwanted water that is drained from the fish. She argued that many countries use this drained water from the fish to feed other fish in ponds; that this is practice in her own country, China.
According to her, the mission statement of her company is zero tolerance to any form of pollution; that this is the reason why they have stopped using the pipe to drain at sea. She said they’ve spent more than 2 million dalasi on assistance towards the people of Gunjur, as their corporate social responsibility, and they have since the year 2015 always come to their aid when needed.
Ms. Huang also said that they have 60 employees and 15 security officers from G4S Security Company, employed by them. She said they have received advice from National Environment Agency (NEA) when the latter visited their company, and they are gradually improving on some of their challenges.
She concluded by saying that her Company will always abide by the laws of the country.
|1 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 12 Jan 2019 : 13:02:41
By Madiba Singhateh January 11, 2019
Lamin BJ Samateh a programme officer at the environment legislative unit of National Environmental Agency has given assurance of the safety of the fishmeal factories.
He pointed out that they have not found on their reports parameters that are very high to cause serious environment problems, noting that there is no environment industry that is 100% environmentally friendly. Mr Samateh made such assurance in an interview with Foroyaa at the NEA headquarters at Kanifing.
According to Mr. Samateh before any factory is opened in the country the site has to be visited first to assess the bio-physical environment of the area.
He said the law dictates if you are doing a project in the country that has a potential to cause environment impacts, those projects are supposed to be subjected to environment assessment test.
Mr. Samateh said the issue of waste water came up during the screening of the project which is class B project.
He said the difference between class A and B projects is that class A projects require detailed environmental studies while B projects do not require detailed environmental studies, because class B has environment impacts which are not as significant as class A projects.
Mr.Samateh said what the fishmeal factories need is an environmental management plan based on the peculiarity of their projects.
He said in the reports, the factory submit issues of waste water management was adequately dealt with.
He said until 2015 fish meal processing plants were not industries in The Gambia and the first fish meal plant was Golden Lead in 2015 followed by Sanyang a year later.
He said because of the rise of fishmeal plants in the country the agency has to go to Mauritania to do the study there because there are a lot of fishmeal factories there.
He added that the product from the factory is used to produce poultry feeds or fish feeds for aquaculture.
He said it is impossible for those people to feed the fish with chemicals that ended up at the dinner table.
He said the waste water has a lot of organic matter in it because of the presence of blood since the fish are caught in mass.
He said the process involved is boiling the fish and separating the water and oil.
Mr. Samateh said the fish is boiled at a high temperature and the water that comes out is normally hot, adding that they cannot just discharge the water at that point; so the factory has a container where it will be kept before it is discharged.
He said the agency wants them to come with a processing plant so that the waste water is treated before it is discharged.
He said at some point, Nissim started operation without a water treatment plant, leading to the agency sending a notice for them to stop until the plant is ready.
He said the waste water could be useful because it contains blood nutrients and part of fish which is decomposed, and this can be lucrative in terms of soil nutrients which can be implemented in the farmlands.
He said for that to be implemented in farms, it needs research.
He said when the treatment plant was ready the agency took the samples to Water Resources Ministry whom the agency signed an MOU with. He said that the Ministry has a water quality analysis laboratory and are mandated by virtue of provision of the Environment Quality Standard Regulation to do water analysis tests for them.
He said they also took the samples to Dakar to a renowned laboratory that is accredited to do analysis, and they have not found on the reports parameters that are very high to cause serious environmental problems.
He reiterated that they did not find any chemicals that will raise eyebrows to the public health.
He said at the discharging point of the water, it attracts other fish to come and feed.
He added that when golden lead were doing secret discharge without their notice, the outlet of the pipe is where fishermen fished because the fish will come to feed on the blood and some of the solid particles being discharged.
He said it could have been worrisome if there were traces of those chemicals in the water but that is not the case.
He added that as an agency, they have obligation not only to issue environmental approval and stop at that, they do unannounced monitoring too.
He said they sometimes take samples at the discharging points in order to see if there is any compliance.
He said people need to know their limitation if they have anything let them give them proofs.
Samateh asserted that industrialization comes with cost to the environment, noting that there is no environmental industry that is 100% environmentally friendly.
He said what they have done is to come up with environmental laws to deal with some of the negative impacts.
In conclusion, he acknowledged that the agency has shortcomings in that they can’t be everywhere.
He invited anyone who sees anything abnormal to report it to the agency.
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