A Sunshine Coast dredging, civil contracting and marine civil company has successfully completed an aid project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of the Government of Tuvalu, that will see improved living conditions and increased land space.
More than 365,000m3 of sand was dredged from a lagoon and used to fill man-made pits on one of the country’s nine islands, Funafuti, by Hall Contracting.
Managing Director, Cameron Hall, said filling in the borrow pits had minimised pollution and improved hygiene levels on the atoll, while also creating more open space to be used by the community.
“During the second world war, the United States Marine Corps dug up areas of the Funafuti atoll for use in building an airstrip. The resulting trenches — known as borrow pits — are uninhabitable, and tidal movements see rubbish as well as human and pig waste collect in the pits, then seep through the island’s porous coral floor and into the lagoon below,” Mr Hall said.
“This situation has not only posed sanitation issues for many years, but also polluted the water beneath, causing excessive plant growth and wreaking havoc on the health of the local ecosystem. Considering fishing and agriculture are some of the country’s primary economic activities, any damage to the local ecosystem can be detrimental to the livelihood of the Tuvaluan people.”
Hall Contracting also undertook foundation and building repairs on-site, installing new services and constructing a rock wall to repair a breach in the atoll.
Hall Contracting has spent more than six months working on the $7 million aid project, deploying a 4,500hp cutter suction dredge, 180-foot accommodation barge and support equipment such as excavators, dozers and trucks from Australia to Polynesian waters as part of the project.