The National, Tuesday 4th September, 2012
IT is undeniable that PNG is facing major environmental concerns but our government is turning a blind eye to it.
You do not have to go far to see first-hand the extent of environmental destruction that is affecting our rural populace.
Logging operations have destroyed rich biological habitats and biodiversity as well as ecosystems, which are affecting our way of life.
Environmental pollution caused by the mining industry is overwhelming.
But when our people make noise, they are ignored or brushed aside.
The government has yet to address the environmental destruction and pollution concerns raised by local communities in living within the Porgera, Ok Tedi, Lihir, Watut and Simberi mines.
These are not mere allegations; they are real concerns.
The government cannot even independently verify such claims because its agencies such as the Department of Environment and Conservation, Forestry and Health lack the capacity to even consider addressing these problems.
From our local knowledge and connection to our environment, our people are in a better position to feel, sense and see the changes to their lifestyles and health.
We do not need foreigners to tell
us that our environment is changing.
As if the destruction of our forests, freshwater and land is not enough, now the government wants to destroy our oceans, reefs and underwater world with seabed mining.
Our clear blue and green oceans will turn murky black and our untouched white sandy beaches will be filled with mud, not to mention the destruction of our ocean’s biodiversity and food source.
We are only borrowing our land and sea from future generations.
Instead of being good custodians, we are destroying them.
What sort of PNG do we want our children and grandchildren to live in?
Let us put a stop to the seabed mining before it is too late.
To those Papua New Guineans working for these companies and pushing for this agenda, wake up.
Think about your country first.
Mining Minister Byron Chan has an obligation to the island people who gave him the mandate.
Put them first before any foreign interest.
If it means making an unpopular decision, so be it.