By Madiba Singhateh and Hatab Nyang
Pipes laid from the Nassim fish-meal factory in Sanyang into the sea were on Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 set ablaze on the very day.
The pipes were meant to discharge the water from the treatment plant to the sea, when the factory resumes operations.
The National Environment Agency had earlier told the community that the factory, which had been closed, will resume operation upon meeting the necessary requirements.
The continued operation of the factory has attracted a lot of opposition from the community because of environmental effects.
Sanyang is a tourist destination and the owners of bars and restaurants are not pleased with what they have observed. According to them since this Nassim Fishmeal Factory started operations about three weeks ago the beach has been full of bad odour and some tourists even leave their food on the tables when the factory is operating.
Tourists who spoke to this paper too showed dissatisfaction and said if this factory continues operation there will be no tourists on the beach.
Employees in the tourism sector in the area also echoed their dissatisfaction concerning the operations of the fishmeal factory as they fear they will lose their jobs with the departure of tourists. They said more than 500 youths of Sanyang are engaged in the tourism industry.
The Alkalo said he did not ask the youths to burn the pipes and that those who did it did so on their own accord.
The VDC chairman said they did meet with the NEA on Friday of last week but there was no concrete agreement; so he is confused as to why they have laid the pipes, although he does not know who burnt the pipes.
Ousman Sayang the Secretary General of Youth Environment of Sanyang said some people from NEA told them that after completion of the water treatment plant by the company they will be given their licence to start operations.
He said the meeting was held last week Friday. Then on Monday and Tuesday the company started digging to lay the pipes which was later dug out by some people.
He added that when the company laid the pipes again on Wednesday they were set ablaze.
Ousman said, later two Paramilitary trucks were dispatched to the scene to ease the situation.
He added that the company was operating without a water treatment plant before the previous closure and were discharging the water into nearby gardens then. He could not understand why they want to discharge the waste water into the sea if it is treated. An attempt by Foroyaa to see the treatment plant, which management promised to facilitate, was later unsuccessful.
Foroyaa visited the NEA office for clarification but was told that the media officer was not in.
It could be recalled that the Office of the President issued a directive to close down the Sanyany Fishmeal Factory. This was due to the complaints of the community and the National Environment Select Committee of the National Assembly, which raised eyebrows on the company’s operations.
Since then the company remained closed until recently.
The police PRO said he is not aware of the incident and promised to get back to me.