There is currently one Waterkeeper organization in Africa, Hann Baykeeper, near Senegal’s capital city of Dakar. Twenty-five years ago, Hann Bay was one of the most pristine bays in the world. In the 1980s, villagers noticed that their bay was becoming increasingly polluted because of the lack of sewage infrastructure and untreated wastewater from industry. The City of Dakar and new, multinational industries regularly dump wastewater into the bay.
Hann Baykeeper believes that there is no more important human or civil right than the right to clean water. Pollution is a theft of critical resources from individuals and communities. Around the world, the institutions charged with protecting citizens and waterways often fail to respond to threats imposed by local industry, development and now powerful multinational corporations. When government and industry fail to act as guardians, citizens must rise up and demand their right to clean water. Hann Baykeeper has chosen to rise up and be the voice of its community and Hann Bay.
Hann Baykeeper takes personal responsibility for the health of our bay. Today, Hann Baykeeper is a strong organization – under the leadership of Hann Baykeeper Mouhamadou Diol and Executive Director Mbacke Seck – that works alongside ASC Yarakh, a cultural organization for the people of Hann Village and Hann Baykeeper’s founding organization. The Baykeeper is a highly visible citizen activist who patrols and protects Hann Bay and engages the community to effect solutions to pollution problems. The Baykeeper has confronted city officials and the mayor about the city’s responsibility to protect the health of the people.
Hann Bay suffers from numerous industrial discharges, urban wastewater discharges, illegal rubbish dumps, sanctioned rubbish dumps, and more. Fishing is now prohibited in the bay and government has failed to enforce laws. The community is losing its connection to this important resource.
The pollution in the bay has jeopardized both humans and wildlife. Industrial waste comes from various spots, such as an oil refinery, a meat processing plant on the bay, and a food dye plant. Raw, untreated sewage enters the bay from the city of Dakar. The government must stop turning a blind eye to the health and welfare of Hann Village, shut down the sewage canals, and divert the waste to an existing, under-capacity treatment facility.