Villagers claim they were not informed of chemical spill

Malau villager Rokoua Laisenia prepares to go out and fish at Malau yesterday afternoon. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

RESIDENTS of Malau settlement outside Labasa Town claim they were never informed of any chemical spillage in the area on Monday as revealed by the Ministry of Environment.

Settlement elder Waisea Makulau said he felt people in the area should have been informed because they used waters in the area for sustenance.

He said had they been aware of the chemical spill, they would have warned people in the area who collected fish and crabs for consumption and income.

“This morning (yesterday), people were still throwing their nets and fishing in the Malau coastline,” Mr Makulau said.

Earlier this week, Ministry of Environment’s permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe told this newspaper that FFI had reported a burst from its Tanalith storage tanks that had spilled into the surrounding environment at the facility.

Mr Wycliffe had said the distance from the sea to where the chemical tank ruptured was approximately 200 metres.

He had said that immediate remedial work reported (apart from containing the spill) to have been undertaken included the deposit of sawdust in the contaminated area, which was used to soak up contaminated water.

More details on this story in today’s edition of The Fiji Times and in our E-Edition.

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