A never-ending story of the Qawa River and pollution....
from today's Fiji Times.What lies beneath ... Noa Rakadi, of Natokamu Village, beside the Qawa River which is devoid of life. Picture: THERESA RALOGAIVAU
Surely it's about time they stopped talking and really did something about it. It's appalling that the Qawa River in Labasa isn't cleaned up yet!
Death comes every 6 months
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
THE crabs and fish are gone and no amount of prodding in the mangrove swamps or throwing lines into the Qawa River will reel them in. This disappearance occurs every six months during the sugar cane crushing season. It has forced Natokamu and Cawaira villagers into a desperate search for food in what was once a river thriving with life. The impoverished Solomon Island fishing community at Cawaira has had to go further out to sea to make a decent catch.
Advisory councillor Timoci Biroko said the toxic discharge from the Fiji Sugar Corporation mill destroyed life in the river. Mr Biroki said little creeks and other rivers that branched off from the Qawa River had also been polluted. "Year in and year out we suffer this problem for between six to eight months a year," he said. "As soon as cane crushing season begins, that's it, all our river food is gone.
Two weeks after the mill opens, dead fish, crabs, malea, everything living in this river floats to the surface, dead. After that the smell hits us. At night it's like we are sleeping in the river. That's how bad the smell is."
Nemai Walolo, 72, of Natokamu Village, said a river favourite , the bakera (crabs) had vanished. Village headman Noa Rakadi said most of the eight families at Natokamu live off the river. "Their income, their food source is all gone so it's mostly just cassava and tea if they can't buy food from the shops," he said.
The Rural Local Authority carried out tests on the river and discovered all the food villagers held dear was dead at the bottom.
Secretary Rakesh Kumar said the tests revealed that the problem was being caused by an effluent discharge from the mill nearby which had decimated all river life. "There is sludge now at the bottom of the river. the tests were pretty alarming," he said. "There is a high level of decaying matter in the river which is giving rise to that bad smell and we feel this is injurious to public health."
Mr Kumar said they are working with FSC on the matter.
Comment: Stop saying they are working with FSC, do something about it! Also, I wanted to look up the FSC website and send a letter of complaint but ha ha, the FSC website doesn't work. Says it's under construction - or perhaps deconstruction!