By LUKE KAMA
HAVING access to clean and sustainable sources of fresh water on island communities remains a big problem in the country, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Richard Maru says.
Maru, together with the Japanese Ambassador Saitoshi Nakajima, Speaker of Parliament and Manus Open MP Job Pomat and National Planning Secretary Hakaua Harry on Tuesday officiated the successful implementation of the first ever solar-powered seawater desalination plant project in the country on one of the beneficiary island communities in Manus.
During the occasion, Maru highlighted that there were many communities around the country which also faced similar challenges of accessing fresh water due to the impacts of climate change but the government did not have the baseline data to plan and address these issues.
“Climate change is a real issue affecting our people but the government does not have baseline data on which communities around the country are adversely affected and what are their needs, especially in areas of water supply and sanitation.
“That’s why, under the government’s WASH policy, we will be looking at addressing this issue over the next three months,” Maru said.
“I will be calling on the National Planning Department to immediately fund an urgent nationwide survey on the water and sanitation services that are available at the provincial capitals down to the district level to come up with a baseline data for implementing the WASH policy.”
On behalf of the government Maru thanked the Japanese government for funding and piloting this new technology in the country.
“Japan continues to remain a very strong development partner to PNG and with the successful implementation of this pilot project, we want to see the project replicated in other parts of the country who are also affected by climate change.”
By LUKE KAMA