According to some Gizo residents, the idea to harvest trees at Mile 6 will be a disaster for the rich environment on Gizo Island.
Others described the provincial government’s decision as “poor”.
One concerned resident Adi Bennett said the Western Provincial premier’s announcement of his government’s plan to harvest trees at Mile 6 must be revisited.
“I wish to call on the premier to rephrase your statement,” Ms. Bennett said.
She said Gizo has been experiencing disasters and adverse impacts of climate change therefore, people should seriously consider protecting the environment instead of disturbing it.
“…we have to seriously consider how we can better practice wise environment management and proper land use to reduce potential negative impact of different kinds of hazards.
“It is true that Mile 6 is a registered government land and reforested, however the premier should be in a better position to make least risk informed decisions.
“The environment will remain to provide us shelter, food and other means of livelihood,” Ms. Bennett said.
The reaction of Gizo residents came after Western Province Premier David Gina announced his government’s move to harvest trees at Mile 6.
Mr. Gina said money collected from the tree harvesting will be used to improve services such as health, education, sports both social and economic delivery of services for the people of Western Province.
However, Ms. Bennett said Gizo Island population is growing and it is important to conserve areas on the island because currently Gizo is the only home for the “white eye bird”.
In fact, she said Gizo Island is placed on the world map as the second spot for diverse biodiversity of marine life.
“We (Gizo) still hold the second spot in the world for the second highest fish count of 306 species of fish per tank dive.
“We should uphold those kinds of initiative and further become innovative to build on how we can even generate public revenue from this and not using logging as the only solution to our dying needs of addressing the deficit in our education and health services,” she said.
Ms. Bennett said there are other economical means which the premier and executive can tap into to broaden its scope especially during this COVID-19 period.
She said the public of Gizo has the right to voice out their concerns if this key decision will affect their livelihood.
“As Gizo residents we need land to make our gardens especially when the worst case scenario of the impact of COVID-19 will affect food security.
“With all these reasons, I hope and pray that the premier together with your executive (can) re-visit your decision and provide alternative outcomes.
“If you continue to turn a deaf ear to our pleas, we will also hold you countable for what you wish to use the money for,” she concluded.
By ULUTAH GINA
Gizo News Bureau