By Buba Gagigo
Kartong residents have on Saturday protested against the approval for GAM QUARRY MINING company to start mining in their village.
“They didn’t inform us their starting time. We are saying before a truck of sand will leave Kartong, it will find that the entire youthful population is dead. We are ready to die to defend our environment, because we know and saw the threat. So we prefer to die to leave our environment to be totally destroyed by strangers who don’t care about the outcome,” the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Kartong Village Development Committee Hatab Jaiteh told Kerr Fatou on Sunday.
The National Environment Agency has approved the company to start mining in Kartong, according a letter seen by Kerr Fatou.
“Reference is made to your letter received on 23rd March 2022, in relation to your request for environmental approval to operate a sand quarry at Kartong village in the West Coast Region. A review of your dossier and site visit by the EIA working group has been concluded and having been satisfied with the outcome thereof. I am pleased to inform you that your request for environmental approval for the above named project at the above captioned site has been approved.
“Consequently, pursuant to powers conferred by regulation 2691 (a) of the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations 2014 (here in after referred to as the regulation), GAM QUARRY MINING GENERAL TRADING Co. Ltd. is hereby granted an environmental approval (here in after referred to as EA)” the NEA letter copied to the Kartong VDC stated.
Mr. Jaiteh said they received the letter last week, which was reason they convened a village meeting to read the letter in front of everyone.
“We received a letter from NEA last week. In the letter they said NEA has done their Environmental Impact Assessment on our land and they said our land is suitable for sand mining.
“They wrote a letter of approval to GAM QUARRY MINING Company in Kerr Sering, GAM QUARRY MINING Company will take the letter to the Geological Department for approval for them to start work. They copied us the letter. Upon receiving the letter, us (the VDC) called the entire village yesterday (Saturday) to read the letter in front of everyone for them to know. The entire village is against sand mining,” the PRO added.
Hatab also explained the previous impact of sand mining in their village, which he said is the reason they would never allow a replica of the activity.
“When they carry out this sand mining, most of the time, the land can no longer be used. It is filled with stagnant water throughout the year. It is also always a breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes, crocodiles, among others.
“Most these snakes and crocodiles normally attack people in their compounds. We also realised that Kartong is below sea level. So, if there is any sand mining, it’s possible that the Atlantic Ocean might engulf the entire village, because Kartong is surrounded by river,” he concluded.