Suva Save our mangroves

PLEASE refer to an article titled “Protect our Mangroves” which featured in a supplement commemorating Earth Hour (page 38 FT 24/03) followed by the related Sunday coverage of the same subject.

Relevant bodies including government, conservation agencies and individuals are rightly concerned about maintaining mangrove areas and have been involved in planting or replanting of the mangroves.

However, that is not enough as government policies and accompanying mechanisms or practices need to change to effectively take care of mangroves including existing ones.

Just to quote a few, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) processes need to ensure the sound monitoring and evaluation of project areas that affect forested or mangrove areas and ensure that protective measures are respected throughout and not only on paper.

That policies relating to the management of mangroves are consolidated in one place under one ministry to prevent ambiguity in interpretation and responsibilities.

That relevant government stakeholders are clear on their custodial role of this important resource and act as such.

That greater awareness is created of these policies such that all parties including the public are clear on processes for redress or enforcement.

In the greater Suva area alone, extensive areas of mature mangroves have been allowed to be decimated without any apparent public consultation or consideration for a long-term environmental impact.

While the planting of new mangroves is important, these will take considerable time to mature.

The preservation of established mangroves may not capture the headlines but should constitute the core of overall managroves management.

Please save our mangroves.

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