Concern over environment


IT is healthy for one to have a dream and harbour a vision in his or her mind – because dreams spur people on to achieve their goals in life and eventually their ultimate destiny.
When the eighth PM of Papua New Guinea took office, he boldly announced to the nation that his dream is for PNG to become the richest black Christian nation on the planet within a decade!
Now when he comes to his senses, he may realise that he may have bitten off much more than he can chew.
It wouldn’t be a surprise at this juncture to think that our good PM is banking heavily on the country’s resource sector (natural capital) as a means to boost the economy and achieve his noble dream.
But the big question remains – at what social and environmental costs?
The Fly River system has been an environmental disaster at a cataclysmic scale as a result of the Ok Tedi mine.
How many more new resource projects would have to be brought on stream in order for the PM’s vision to materialise?
It is also a great concern to many that the state had been anticipating the Frieda mine project located at the headwaters of the Sepik River to bring on stream in haste.
There is no guarantee that the Sepik River system will not turn into another Ok Tedi (Fly River)-type disaster.
If we go by the existing track record, we can be sure that by de-fault, it would be another disaster of epic proportions that future generations would blame the current generation for.
Thus, I would like to caution the PM, who I understand is himself an environmental science graduate, to be wise when going through the options available to him.
He must know how to play his cards right.
While it could be a blessing to benefit from our vast endowment of natural resources, it is also our Christian duty to care for God’s creation (environment).
At the end – how could we call this nation Christian, after we have pillaged through and polluted our environment at the expense of our very own people, in order to get rich?
What would we do with all the wealth gained when we have no safe and secure home to live in?
Do we expect the affected population to migrate to the city or squat on other people’s land?

Robert Bino, PhD

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