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Long-term effects

Torika Tokalau
Friday, June 20, 2014

LET us make Draunibota Bay in Waibola, Wailekutu a marine reserve and sanctuary.

This is the view of psychologist Selina Kuruleca on the provisionally approved rezoning of Waibola from residential to heavy industrial.

Ms Kuruleca said a move to protect Waibola and Draunibota Bay could be the flagship of Fiji's commitment to the Green Growth Summit Framework, the Pacific and the world.

She says while development is inevitable, it should only take place at an alternative location but only after there has been widespread consultation and detailed analysis of long-term impacts.

"Development can and should take place but we must always be mindful of the costs and benefits," Ms Kuruleca said.

"There must be a balance. The physical and psychological stress that the wrong kind of developments can cause must be taken into account.

"The wrong kind of development can cause irreversible damage to the human psyche, the environment, local communities and the nation.

"The nation must join in this fight and stop the rezoning. There must be a sustainable way for and of development."

She referred to Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama's opening speech at the Green Growth Summit Framework held last Thursday in Suva where he said: "The old ways of growing our economy, of developing our nation, are no longer adequate or acceptable.

"Too much of what has been done has been unsustainable. In far too many instances, our resources have been exploited without the proper care that is needed to nurture them so that they continue to provide the prosperity on which we all depend."

Ms Kuruleca urged policy makers and corporate bodies to heed Fiji's commitment and the commitment made by government to protect and search for a more sustainable management of Fiji's resources. "Protecting our environment is the heritage that we owe our children.

"Our ancestors passed to us places where we could fish and feed ourselves, and where we could safely explore and play as children. For us to now squander this heritage and deny it to our children is unconscionable.

"Draunibota is the last natural bay in Suva, a gift from God, passed down to us from our ancestors. Now we have a responsibility to pass it down to our children.

"This rezoning should not and cannot be allowed to go ahead — it is our collective responsibility to commit to a more sustainable approach to development."

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