By JAYNE SAFIHAO
A LOCAL environmental campaigner has warned the government to tread carefully with the Ramu NiCo issue regarding environmental damages as more locals express interest in seeking legal assistance.
The activist and popular Bundi figure, Steven Andambo, after following the week-long court tussle over the commencement of the construction of the deep sea tailings (DSTP) at Basamuk Bay, said the four plaintiffs in the proceedings were from “behind Astrolabe”.
“Legitimate landowners such as Louie Medaing, where the refinery is built, and those at Basamuk itself, will institute fresh proceedings once the settle differences amongst themselves,” he said.
Andambo claimed to have done a previous environmental awareness exercise in which he said: “Most of the places I went the people were too afraid to speak out or were not educated enough to know their rights on what and how to address the environment issues currently faced by them and others.”
Andambo is now
looking to gather key people from Basamuk, coastal and inland pipeline areas and Kurumbukari itself of which he also claims to be a landowner and organise a meeting where they can air their grievances.
“I want to warn the state, MCC, supporters of Ramu NiCo and landowner representatives that this is not the end of the DSTP battle, the next one that will pop up will be a bigger legal issue,” he said.
He also claimed to have overseas experts who have been in the country, following the case and lending their support to the cause which they claimed have breached every normal mining and environmental acts.
Among some of the issues he pointed out were the prolonged delay by the Lands Titles Commission, which have left clans fighting amongst themselves.
“The pollution of the Gagao River, which has seen fish float to the surface and the water turning milky white in colour, and most importantly, the laying and construction of the slurry pipes which either run parallel to the main public highway or run through village clinics, schools, churches and houses posing a far greater risk,” the activist said.
Andambo stressed that Papua New Guinean culture was different unlike China where everything is state-owned.