Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Watut River issue a sensitive one



The environment issue regarding Watut River system is a very-sensitive one that needs to be handled very carefully. 

I support the idea to have a study done to determine if the new mine is actually causing health problems to our people living along the river, however,  it is important that proper professional studies and investigation be carried out with the findings made without bias or influenced by local politics. 

This will call for the undivided support of the governor Wenge and the member for Bulolo Mr Basil.

They should put real money into this study for the interest of the people whose lives may be at greater risk than we assume. 

You need the full endorsement of the Morobe Provincial Government (Tutumang) and Bulolo district joint district planning and budget priorities committee (JDPC) to carry out this study so that it is official and recognised.

Doing it on a volunteer basis can be a big effort and demanding and can become frustrating if support is not given from our leaders.

For you information, I come from Latep village which is situated some 20km downstream from Hidden Valley gold and dependent on Watut river for washing, fishing and mining.

Some years back, in early 2000, a lecturer at Unitech by the name of Michael Kiap, a chemist by profession, carried out some studies on the effects of mercury on the lives of small alluvial miners along the Watut River and I think Bulolo River as well.

From what I was told by him, large amounts of mercury were present in bodies of some men who had come in constant contact with this metal during the course of their mining activities.

One actually died in my village.

Now that should give you something to begin with.

You could start at Unitech analysis lab as I believe Michael's data will be there in the records.

 For the hydrology study, I can help you there, but I will need time and that is a problem for me as at present, I am based in Sydney but come and go for short-term jobs here in PNG.

 I wish you all the best endeavor in this important task.


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