In September 2016, a Chinese fish meal factory was opened in Gunjur, a Gambian village very close to the capital city of Banjul.
During the opening of the factory, the villagers were all filled with joy as they hoped that the factory will evolve development and create jobs opportunity in the community.
However, the reverse was the case as a few months later, the residents began to notice an unbearable foul smell and pollution that caused their water to become red. Also, lots of dead fish piled at the river bank causing swimmers in Gunjur’s lagoon to have a skin reaction.
This situation in Gunjur is not the only area affected by such pollution. Recently, some Chinese firms have been accused of posing threats to some areas in Africa based on incidents recorded by experts across the mines of Guinea, oil fields of Chad and forests of the Congo basin.
Badara Bajo, the director of the Environment Protection and Development Group of Gunjur (EPDGG), said “when the factory came here, a lot of people were happy, including me,”
“We felt that it would help create employment opportunities and perhaps sustainable income to local inhabitants,”
“Within months of the factory opening in Gunjur, residents began to notice a bad smell, followed by local waterways turning red, and finally wave after wave of dead fish washing up on the shore. Swimmers in Gunjur’s lagoon began to complain of skin problems,” he said.
Unfortunately, this might hinder the newly established relationships between African countries and Chinese firms of which many African governments look forward to a direct Chinese investment to turn around the stuttering economy.
The unhappy villagers are against this development because they think it is causing more harm than good to them.