By Julie Badui Owa – EMTV News, Lae
The Manager for Lae City Council Health Division, Godfrey Worio, said the office is lacking logistic and administrative support from the National Government to perform their duties. These comments come after a family raised concerns two weeks ago on media regarding sausage waste from a factory that was reported to Lae City Council office in 2014 and no quick action taken.
Worio said companies will be forced to shut down if they are found operating illegally on residential areas and do not meet the government’s requirements and regulations. He says they have not actively carried out health inspections in the city for over 20 years. This is due to various challenges that include difficulties in logistics and staff shortages. He says it is also an issue of importance for the management to recruit new staff to help conduct inspections. Worio also said the lack of support by the National Government in funding the office on time has affected their daily operations.
In recent weeks, the Lae City Council has come under scrutiny. Much of that scrutiny has stemmed from a 5-year delay in acting on complaints about pollution from a sausage factory located near a residential area at 2 Mile. A family raised the concerns in 2014; nothing was done until last week when the City council’s waste management team closed the factory. The team led by Senior Inspector, Paul Wiwi, closed the factory after three inspections.
The inspections showed that the company failed to provide evidence that it was following regulations. Documents also showed the building was approved to be a storage warehouse. It however, was operating as a sausage factory. This case has also brought to light other underlying issues that affect the city council’s work.
Worio, says there is a lack of communication between Lands and Physical Planning Board, the building board and Lae City Council. He said the office will work closely with other authorities to review business licenses and will force them to close if they are operating illegally in residential areas.