By Buba Gagigo
Sino Majilac Jalbak, dredging company has rebutted the allegation by some Denton Bridge residents that its sand mining caused the maiden flooding in the area.
Responding to the allegation, Banka Manneh, spokesperson for the mining company said they are dredging in the sea to avoid sand mining in the coastal areas such as Gunjur and Sanyang.
“We are closer to the dredging area than anybody. In fact, there is a company building around that area. There is no flooding issue where we are. Then why will the flooding jump us and go to them? It’s quite interesting! If they are saying everywhere is flooding around Denton Bridge, it’s a lie. We are very aggressive on have mining in coastal areas shutdown. That’s the main reason sea mining has been brought in.
“Gambians need sand, no matter how. But if you buy sand from Gunjur, Sanyang etc., you will become part of the problem. The mining over there is destroying the communities, women gardens, women’s rice fields, etc. If you talk to women around that area they will tell you. This dredging is supposed to be the solution. It’s not meant to be destructive or create environmental disaster,” he said.
He said that their sand mining is a remedy to the problems caused by coastal mining.
“It is created as a solution for that (to avoid mining around the costal areas) problem. Now we have two options, it’s either we shutdown the dredging, or continue the costal sand mining. Unfortunately, the people in our area are being used to tell stories that are false because the the flooding they are talking about- how comes our own entire area is not flooded?” Manneh asked.
PRO Manneh also denied the other allegation by the residents that the Denton Bridge is bent due to the dredging by the company.
“These people are not Bridge experts. They don’t know anything about that bridge. The amount of tons of sand and cement that crossed through that bridge is unbelievable and the bridge is still in good shape because it’s not destroyed and nothing is wrong with it. Some of the engineers that built the bridge is consulting with us.
“If the engineer say this and the non-expert say another thing, how do you reconcile those two? Royal Haskoning were the company that dredge Banjul. They wrote a document about the costal areas and what should be done about it. That book’s recommendations is what we are following, because when Banjul had a problem they use dredging to solve it. How comes now dredging becomes a problem now,” he explained.
Manneh also said information was shared with relevant authorities that the recent high tides was mainly responsible for the current floods around that particular spot, before it happened.
A research by the Royal Haskoning company seen by Kerr Fatou stated that dredging may also be considered to create in this area a large sand deposit during the dredging activities (dredged sand) to provide a source of sand for construction works in the coming years.
“Another way to deal with the erosion problem in this area is to dredge away the spit and to use the sand for nourishment of the eroded area. With the present sand volume in the spit (approximately 1, 000, 000 m) an average seaward shift of the area between Toll Point and Banjul Point of 25 to 35 m can be achieved (approximately 200 m’/m). By taking the sand spit away, the main cause of erosion in this area is eliminated, and the sand supply from Toll Point to the coast east of Toll Point is restored,” it stated.
In this way, it may be possible to strongly reduce illegal sand mining from the beaches, the research added.