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WOD together with the CNPS in Sendou, Senegal

The National Collective of Artisanal Fishers in Senegal (Collectif national des pêcheurs artisanaux du Sénégal (CNPS)) is the longest-serving partner of Mundus maris in the country with whom to celebrate World Ocean Day 2019. Badou NDOYE, national President of the CNPS had signaled the intention to contribute to the growing chorus of organisations and individuals whose active participation makes the event bigger and more representative year after year.

The initial idea was to celebrate the day in Mbour in the vicinity of the national headquarters of the organisation. However, in the face of other activities already massively funded by oil and gas companies such as Total, active in the area and lobbying for public consent for access to beach and offshore spaces for infrastructure needed to develop production of the fossil industry and export of energy, the leaders of the CNPS decided it would be better to move to Sendou.

Sendou is not as big a fish landing place as Mbour, but in Sendou and a neighbouring community fishers are fighting since years against two large infrastructure projects liable to have a huge negative impact on the marine and coastal environments on which these communities and many more people in Senegal depend for food and a living. One of these projects is one of the biggest mineral ports in West Africa to handle the expected massive export of gas and petroleum the production of which is scheduled to start soon. The other project is a big coal fired power plant which came on stream in November 2018 but has even raised eyebrows at the African Development Bank (AfDB), a major funder, for not meeting environmental and health standards.

The local committee of the CNPS is very active there and deserves welcome support together with another very dynamic local association (Naatal Sendou) to send a clear signal to the administration that these communities care for a healthy environment - for World Ocean Day and during all of the year.

As a result, all activities were focused on a beach clean-up. This was an opportunity for an intergenerational mobilisation including some ladies, who had spent their entire lives primarily in fish processing, had been the first female members of the CNPS activities and were now pensioneers, joined the younger ones on the beach. This was the case e.g. of Ndew Sène, Ndèye Niang and Madjiguène Faye.

Thanks to the excellent collaboration between the local Committee of the CNPS chaired by Baye Ngagne Thiombane and the Naatal Sendou Association under the able leadership of its general secretary Matar Niang the turn-out and the results of the day were a success. These two had already prepared utensils and an operational plan beforehand.

So, on 8 June, the volunteers started the beach clean-up punctually at 10h30. As the entire area is badly affected by the garbage and wastes of the infrastructure work for the mineral port, there was plenty to do.

The volunteers then turned their attention to removing the solid waste which had been discharged into the sea by the industries and also private households but been thrown back by the currents. The clean-up lasted until about 14h!

Encouraged by the newly found cleanliness of the area used for fish processing the customary authorities requested additional help from the volunteers to clean up also some corners of the village where, at times, the wind was blowing plastic bags and other garbage from the nearby national road. They happily complied after lunch break.

Congratulations for this worthwhile action!