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Port Moresby
August 3, 2021
News

Locals demand probe into death of eels, fish

A GROUP of villagers have found dead fish and eels floating on the Markham River and want authorities to investigate.
And they have blocked off the Markham Bridge pending the investigation.
 

A GROUP of villagers have found dead fish and eels floating on the Markham River and want authorities to investigate.
And they have blocked off the Markham Bridge pending the investigation.
Community leader Michael Poane said they had been raising the river pollution problem with the government and the Morobe mining joint venture but no action was taken.
A petition was presented to Morobe Governor Luther Wenge and the company two years ago, he said.
The dead fish have polluted the river and its banks.
Poane said the people depended on the river for fish but now they had been denied this food source.
He blamed chemicals dumped in the river for the problem.
People alleged that a vehicle recently overturned near Wampet village spilling its cargo, including battery acids and fuel, into the river.
The people have used empty drums to block both sides of the bridge and displayed the dead fish on the drums.
Only PMV trucks and private vehicles are allowed to pass while MMJV company vehicles are stopped.
“The source of our livelihood which we also use for drinking, washing and cooking is destroyed,” said Poane.
When the news reached Wenge’s office, a delegation went to the site to confirm the blockade.
They were chased away by angry residents armed with bush knives and told to go and bring back Wenge to come and witness the dead fish.
Poane said Wenge and Huon Gulf MP Sasa Zibe had earlier promised the people that they would engage toxicologists to find out the cause of the pollution.
None turned up.
The affected communities are from Wampet, Omsis, Potsie, Markham Bridge and the three Labu villages.
Provincial programme adviser for mining and environment Taikone Gwakoro could not be reached for comment.
Police escorted company and provincial mining and environment representatives to the site in the evening to address the people.
They suggested that the community select 10 representatives to discuss the matter with government and company officials.

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