Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Govt messages confuse locals

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
CONFLICTING messages were sent by Government as to whether it wanted those who are opposing the deep-sea tailing placement system to provide alternatives or not.
While the national MPs during a recent DSTP awareness meeting called on critics, including the non-government organisations, to provide the Government with alternatives, the bureaucrats on the other hand said the issue was non-negotiable.
Several locals who attended the meeting, which was jointly organised by the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Mineral Resources Authority at the Divine Word University, had said that with science, information and technology constantly evolving they did not believe the government had exhausted all means to find a environmental system which was safer than the DSTP method.
Anton Yagama, a local from Bundi, said he was neither impressed nor convinced that the DSTP was safe.
Mr Yagama said that with all the resources which leaders and bureaucrats had, it was disheartening that they could not present to the locals of Madang an alternative and were dead-set with just the mine waste management system.
“Waigani with all its resources has not given us any alternative other than the DSTP. Many times this is the case with government. It comes up with one decision and always forces it down our throat without providing options.
“Our land and sea is our life and issues relating to this cause us great pain and instead of soothing it, you are trying to suppress it.
“You should refrain from trying to force things down our throat,” he said. Another speaker told the meeting that one alternative which had not been pursued and which he believed would solve some of the problems government was experiencing was the plasma-waste technology whereby the mine tailings was transformed into by-products, some of which were known to be suitable for road maintenance.
The suggestion intrigued Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet who had during the meeting queried the speakers who had raised the issue if the option was viable and further they had any supporting documents and a proposal in which they could put forward to government and the developer as an alternative to the system they already had.
These comments drew the ire of DEC acting executive director of environmental protection wing, Michael Wau, who said that the department understood full well that land was an issue.

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