THE Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Lavangu Bay was completely destroyed by spilled oil from the wrecked MV Solomon Trader that runs aground inside the MPA boundary.
Solomon Star has visited the devastated site last Saturday and witnessed that the MPA owned by a coastal community within the largest bay of the island was polluted, as a result of the environmental disaster.
Officials from Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) also told the paper that the ship wrecked on a reef within the boundary of the MPA, according to what they saw on the ground.
A SIMA officer who returned from Rennell said according to the survey of the MPA, the ship wrecked right inside the conservation area and spilling oil all over the place.
“One cannot see anything inside the MPA as the water turns black from the oil and kills all the marine life inside the protected area,” he added.
He also stated that the company needs to help the locals from the nearby communities to clean up their coastal areas and remove the oil deposits inside the MPA.
Meanwhile, local residents also told Solomon Star on site that the MPA was a conservation site that helps the community to keep their marine environment for tourism purposes.
“………and also to help regenerate depleted marine species that were at risk of extinction in our waters.
“Not only that, but this is where we get our fish to feed people on special events the community hosted,” he revealed.
When contacted the Ministry of Environment to make comments about the damaged MPA, one official said an assessment is underway, which will determine how and what the ministry can do based on the report they currently work on.
By AATAI JOHN LAUNGI