Call for an inquiry

The dying vegetation and dried up lake at Wainisavulevu in Naitasiri. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU/FILE

A LEADING environmental organisation, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (NFMV), is calling on Government to conduct an independent inquiry into the raising of the Wainisavulevu Weir.

NFMV director Nunia Moko said the Government-commissioned inquiry should investigate the process that was followed and the extent of impact on the environment.

Mrs Moko said the inquiry should: n examine the real outcome of Energy Fiji Ltd’s weir raising process; n the adequacy of the original EIA; n the current level of environmental damage; n how best to remediate it; and n whether EFL is an appropriate organisation to be custodian of a site of national significance.

NFMV has suggested that the conservation community co-operate with the enquiry through the Protected Areas Committee, as an existing technical committee of the National Environment Council.

Mrs Moko said EFL’s acknowledgment that it had raised the weir two metres above the EIA-approved height was a “step forward”.

However, she said, the rest of EFL’s explanation that there would be no further environmental impact was hard for NFMV to believe. It would also be hard for the general public to believe, Mrs Moko added.

“We are happy to contribute to a process which can rectify this issue, but it is much more than an EFL-NFMV issue,” Mrs Moko said.

“We would like to see all EIAs and other public documents (as determined by the Environmental Management Act) put on a website and made accessible to all, as is normal in most countries with modern environmental management legislation.

Questions sent to the Department of Environment, Department of Energy and the Prime Minister’s office two weeks ago remained unanswered yesterday.

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