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Fiji mangroves being destroyed for urban development – while planners “plan”

05/12/2012

In Suva, inexplicably, investors have obtained rights over “Crown land” which include large tracts of mangroves, called tiri or dogo in Fijian.  Complex and invaluable marine environments are being destroyed to save investors a few bucks (because they do not wish to buy easily available but more costly land), while other nearby properties are seeing increased risk of flooding  and possible loss of capital value.

Fiji mangroves being destroyed for urban development- while planners plan.

 

Letter to the Editor
Fiji Sun
19 November 2012.

Dear Sir

Some weeks ago, through this column, I queried the Department of Environment and the property developers who are reclaiming a large mangrove area in lower Nasese whether proper EIAs had been done, as there was a grave risk of increased flooding once the mangroves were filled as well as serious damage to a valuable marine environment.
There was no answer from the Department of Environment. A relative of the property developers (Mr Karl Smith) saw me the morning the letter was published and assured me that USP had done an EIA.  The reclamation has continued unabated.
Last night (18 November), with just moderate rainfall and a high tide, the properties in lower Gardiner Road (including mine), had the drain water come into the house.
The flooding will undoubtedly be even more severe once that entire mangroves area has been filled (with the property developers no doubt leaving a narrow channel, which will be grossly inadequate to drain the large volume of floodwaters pouring in from Nasova).
With the hurricane season upon us, the next heavy rainfall combined with a high tide will see even worse flooding.
I wish to query the authorities whether (a) the Department of Environment or (b) the property developers, will be held financially liable for any damage that will done to our houses and its contents, and loss of capital value, arising out of the future floods.
I don’t expect any liability will ever fall on those who, over the last few months, have been catching and selling, along the Nasese seafront, hundreds of bundles of qari which have been forced to move lower down from their rich marine mangroves environment because of the reclamation.
No doubt the marine scientists (including those at USP who allegedly did the EIA) can tell us what other marine species and quantities are being destroyed in that Nasese mangrove area which is being reclaimed, and what the risks of flooding will be once the reclamation is complete.

Professor Wadan Narsey
27 Gardiner Road
Nasese.
Suva.

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