Mining threat to marine, conservation group says

Source: The National

MARINE life in Madang is facing environmental risks created by major development projects in the province, says a non-government organisation.

Mas Kagin Tapani Association project co-ordinator Wenceslaus  Magun said the Ramu nickel cobalt mine deep sea tailings endangered marine life.

The tailings have already polluted the Basamuk Bay just after two years of mining operations, he said.

Magun said waste from various canneries and factories, and the proposed deep sea mining in the Bismark Sea could affect marine resources.

“The threat to marine life posed by major development is a challenge for the organisation, which is focusing on the conservation of marine resources such as the leatherback turtles,” he said.

“There is an urgent need for the community at large to understand this.

“The local, provincial and the Government has to be well informed of the proposed developments and their effects on their environment.”

Mas Kagin is making a positive input through its campaign programme by holding a public forum in Madang.

Magun said the organisation was trying to conserve the leatherback turtle and other marine resources.

He said conservation of the turtle species was vital as it was a cultural resource for the people. Losing the species would result in loss of their culture and identity.”

He said donors that support their fight include WWF Melanesia, Global Green grants, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme plus support in-kind from family members.

He said the programme put emphasis on the turtle population which was declining.