By DORISH KAMBA
PEOPLE on the outer islands of Lihir have drastically cut down their consumption of marine products after discovering dead fish and octopuses on their reef according to reports from the Nimamar Local Level Government, New Ireland province.
Apart from having dead marine lives, some of the islanders got itchy skin and skin rashes after bathing in the sea.
Community leaders from Malie Island, the smallest of the three outer islands of Lihir, who were the first to discover the upheaval, reported that their folks on the nearby Masahet and Mahur Islands have reported similar concerns, describing it as a community concern.
The Islanders were concerned that what they were facing now might be caused by the disposal of tailings by the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) through its marine tailings which extends 250m to the seabed, thus, leaders from Malie Island met with Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA) and LGL officials on Jan 5 seeking answers as to what might have been the cause of dying marine products and people developingh itchy skin from the waters.
The Malie Island delegation, however, was concerned that LMALA and LGL might not be giving straight answers to the cause of the problem and claimed that they (LMALA and LGL) had failed to provide answers to peoples’ concerns in the past.
Meanwhile, a member of the delegation which included their local ward member, women, youth and church leaders said they were planning to take up their concerns with the Department of Environment and Conservation, Mining, and the New Ireland provincial and national governments to ensure peoples’ lives were not put at risk by these problems.