Sand mining is a hot issue in the Gambia nowadays. Not only because of the simple fact that sand mining now is destroying the country’s last protection against the rapidly rising ocean. But also because lives have been lost in the latest Fabara incident. Three people were killed in clashes between protestors and the Gambian police.
It’s not a very smart idea to dig away your dunes when the ocean is rising quickly. Many places in the Gambia are seriously suffering from climate change. Islands are slowly disappearing and hotels are swallowed by the ocean.
Like the Netherlands, the Gambia is very sensitive for rising ocean levels. Destroying the dunes to sell the sand is total mismanagement and almost suicide.
A collapsing ecosystem
Sand mining might be good business for now, but it is clear that this is the worst thing man can do if we want to protect a community against a rapidly rising sea. Slowly the Gambian government is starting to realize that sand mining can not continue in the coastal area of the country. In Kartong the sand mining activities have already halted.
We hope this soon will be the case in Gunjur too is what we hope.
But how can we bring back a forest in an area that has been totally destructed? The top layer of soil has been removed which means all of the fertile nutrients are gone. In these mines, not much will grow anymore.
So our first mission is to bring back nutrients in the soil. That could be done by starting up compost factories that will turn left overs of food into new nutrients. Shells of groundnut and cashew are perfect for this, but also left-overs from fruits and vegetables are perfect to create new soil. Sticks, wood, leaves, all organic materials are useful to create nutrients and bring back life in the soil.