A SOLOMON Islands seasonal worker employed at a pet food company in New South Wale, Australia, was suspended from work on Thursday after being caught chewing betel nut.
The seasonal worker said his two supervisors saw his stained teeth and asked him what he was chewing and he told them that he was chewing betel.
He told Solomon Star that it was during lunch break that his two supervisors caught him and ordered him to leave the work place and go home.
The Solomon Islands seasonal worker said though he tried to explain to the supervisors that betelnut chewing is a norm in his home country, they refused to listen, insisting that they will conduct their own finding.
“Now, I don’t know what will be next. They told me to go home until they find out more about betelnut chewing before they will get back to me,” he said.
He was supposed to receive his salary yesterday but it was put on hold.
The seasonal worker who is now in his second year in Australia said if this is a serious matter, then Solomon Islands Government needs to seriously consider it and not allow any more betelnuts to be sent to Australia as Solomon Islands betelnut-chewing workers will only be tempted to buy them.
People in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin have a long betelnut-chewing history. In some Pacific islands, its use can be traced back as far as 2,000 years thus a habit passed down through many generations.
Research shows there are some serious health risks from betelnut-chewing. The WHO classifies betelnut as a carcinogen. Many studies have shown a convincing link between betelnut use and mouth cancer (Esophageal cancer).
By FOLLET JOHN
Solomon Star, Newsroom