Environmental concern following oil spill - Solomon Star News

Environmental concern following oil spill

25 July 2018
Extensive oil spill on the water surface from Kakabona to Boneghe. Inset, Director Environment, Joe Horokou. [Photo Supplied]

An expatriate kayaking offshore in North West Guadalcanal over the weekend raises environmental concern, after he witnessed extensive oil spilled on the seawater surface between Kakabona and Boneghe beach.

The forestry expert suspected that the source of “illegal pollution” must have come from a barge floating some distance away from a log pond on the shore.

The barge is owned by a logging company operating in the area.

The expatriate who want his identity withheld observed that the illegal pollution is caused by pumping of fuel and lubricant into the sea during loading of logs into the barge.

“There's an extensive layers of oil released into the sea” he claimed.

He said, this will have negative environmental impact, affecting both the marine ecosystem as well as the local population who are living along the shoreline.

He said families and tourists on Saturday and Sunday enjoy the beach, which is just near Honiara.

 “They need to have an environmental impact assessment, including mitigation plan to avoid polluting the environment.” the expat said.

 “What they’re doing is illegal. It’s disrespectful, careless and senseless” he added.

He said this is yet another sad and upsetting demonstration of the complete and utter disregard these people have for human beings and nature.

“As well as disrespect for the law, as they surely have an environmental impact assessment in place which would safeguard against such environmental crime, if it weren’t a fake.

“Something needs to be done to stop this and fast.”

Director for Environment Joe Horokou told Solomon Star that his office is not aware of the recent issue, and that such discharging of oil to fragile environment as alleged is illegal.

He points out that, the quantity and type of oil, fuel or whatever substance harmful to the marine ecosystem has to be verified by carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the area.

 He explained that, EIA probes conditions of sites to determine significance of the impact of pollution on the environment.

He said, this month the Ministry of Environment sends an officer to Tangarare in the west Guadalcanal to assess logging operations after people from the community raised complaints of water pollution.

“This is to make sure loggers follow up on compliance.”

Furthermore, he said if complaints of illegal pollution are true, then the ministry has to make recommendations to companies, as well as licensees involved.