Dear Editor – Thank you for allowing me space in your editorial page to make some public awareness on the seriousness of the introduction of the pest Giant African snail in to our country.
This snail is the worst pest that has ever been introduced in Solomon Islands especially in Honiara but it is already spreading uncontrollable.
The damages it does to our vegetables gardens are only beginning to show as people including myself start to complain.
I have never seen anything breed so fast like this snail and although snails have always been regarded as one of the slowest moving creatures on earth, but I can assure you that this African snails moves quite fast.
It had already been seen in Auki even in Lata and I guarantee you, it will spread to the other islands if we do not make any positive steps not only to stop it from spreading but also eradicate it.
A lot of people in Honiara have been complaining and blaming the Government especially the Quarantine Division for not doing their job.
I wholeheartedly share this concern. But is the Government really the culprit in bringing in the pest? I have considered this question seriously and concluded that one function of the Government’s quarantine division is to stop unwanted pest come into the country.
Based on this fact, the government cannot be the culprit even when we consider the failure of the quarantine division to stop the pest from coming into the country. So who is the real culprit?
In my opinion, the true culprits are those Asian logging companies who carelessly brought in used heavy earth moving machineries without thorough cleaning and treating.
These logging companies do not care whether these machineries contain snails or not. Their primary interest is to make more money on log export by even damaging our natural forests and out of the country. Whether they bought in the snails is not an issue to them. But they carelessly brought in the pest.
The next question is, should our Government be responsible for somebody else’s mistake? I do not think would be fair. The real culprits must bear the burden of their own carelessness.
They destroy our natural forest, cause land disputed, destroy our traditional tribal and family ties, caused much hatred within our rural communities, even introduced child prostitution in the rural communities and on top of all these, they brought in the giant African snails.
When you weigh all these negative effect of logging against the revenue our Government collects from log exports, on the special scale which I call Common Sense, my scale tilts in favour of the negative effects of logging and snail being the heaviest.
Based on the above, I suggest that our Government to ask all the logging companies to donate financial contributions towards the eradication of the snail. Why should our government bear the burden away.
While the pest is still localized in Honiara, I strongly feel that we still have a good chance to eradicate the pest.
I invite the fellow Solomon Islanders to put your views on this important matter.
Nelson Koroi Barley