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The Rewa Delta Villages Need Help

The Rewa Delta Villages Need Help
Villagers are suffering the effects of the fishing ban caused by something not of their making
January 14
07:56 2015

Residents in Suva might not appreciate the predicament villagers in the Rewa Delta are in. The fishing ban now in place will literally destroy their way of life. Granted, the ban is just short-term. The ban has been put in place in order for authorities to deal with the effects of the sewage spill. However, villagers are left with few options for food and income.

With the school year coming up its imperative families need cash to finish their school shopping, let alone buy household groceries and other essential items.

There are some complaints of an over-reaction on the part of authorities. Some may consider it an over-reaction given that the Rewa villages are some distance away from the sewage spill area. However, there are a few reasons why extreme caution is necessary.  One is the possible adverse effect on marine life; fish, mussels and mud crabs.

Only late last year, a similar situation happened for mussel farmers along the Fal River in Cornwall, England. Because of pollution from sewage spills and fears of E.Coli infecting the marine life, a total ban was placed on the river mussel industry. Let’s pray that the same measures are not put in place for Rewa. Otherwise, it would be a total catastrophe.

The ignorant Suva resident will chide them and ask why they aren’t they buying their food from the shops.  The point is the cash they use to buy from the shops is made from sales of fish, river mussels and mud crabs.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, is on record saying there is no enemy territory. His comments were made in the context of his visit to Taveuni, home of the Tui Cakau, and Opposition parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. He is quoted as saying national development will be for everyone, regardless of politicial affiliation, religious creed and status in society.

Rewa is the home province of the Leader of the Opposition and Marama Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa. We believe the Honourable Prime Minister will be a man of his word, as he has been before, to deliver some form of financial relief to affected villagers. Its not their fault that they cannot fish.  The sale of these delicacies provide a considerable source of income for Rewa villagers who provide for markets along the Suva-Nausori corridor. We really can’t blame villagers for breaching the ban.  The ban has severely depleted whatever cash reserves they had. They need help as quick as possible.

The sewage spill has also highlighted how vulnerable our local environment is. It has underlined the need for urban planners, civil society, policy formulators and other stakeholders to sustain long-term development plans to preserve our environment. Other worst-case scenarios are oil spills in the Suva Harbour, mindless destruction of mangrove swamps and the dumping of waste on land and at sea.

There are too many examples from around the world where ignorance and a lack of political will disregarded sustainable development plans resulting in the destruction of forests, rivers and displacement of people. Let’s not add ourselves to that list.

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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