The National – Monday, December 20, 2010
TWO MPs from Western are calling on their provincial government and the Ok Tedi Mining Ltd to work together to establish a drinking water development programme for the province.
South Fly MP Sali Subam said the people of Western did not have access to clean drinking water due to the long term sediment and silt build up in the Fly River and mine waste from the Ok Tedi mine.
Subam said in light of the cholera epidemic in the province, the priority now was to ensure that there was a safe way for the people to store and save water for cooking, drinking and washing instead of using the muddy river.
He said this was urgent as the cholera germ was waterborne and this needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
Middle Fly MP Roy Biyama said as vice-minister for environment and conservation, he had seen first hand that the river water had worsened and that more people were contracting skin diseases from it.
He said the need to have good drinking water and sanitation was also a priority for the three MPs to work with their governor and the OTML management to find ways to work together.
Biyama said the sharing of ideas and resources between all the stakeholders, collaborating with one another ensuredthat no two projects were duplicated and that work was done for the people’s benefit.
Subam also said because almost two-thirds of the province was on or in water, the need to have water saved in reservoirs or tanks would help to contain the spread of cholera.
The members said their electorates now have to contend with bore water and wells for their drinking and also from the muddy Fly River.