Owners of three Resorts along Emten to Erakor Lagoon have shared their views concerning the bacterium found in the water, which is another problem to tackle once the borders open.
General Manager of Tropicana Lagoon, Peter Forgaty mentioned that his staff have been going the extra mile in attempting to restore the lagoon to its natural beauty by fishing debris and other pollutants from the water but there the problem persists.
“You would have to say that it comes down to people dumping one of the biggest pollutants is baby nappies they’re terrible, people need to be educated, this can’t go on anymore, but to clean it up the boys do it, they don’t rely on the government,” Mr. Forgaty said.
The Tropicana Lagoon General Manager stated that with no tourists and the negative optics of the water not exactly being publicized overseas, the matter still might be manageable.
As for the potential ban that could be placed by the Chiefs of Erakor and the government departments, Mr. Forgaty said that it wouldn’t do much of a difference if the borders remain closed, however, he does share a close relationship with the Chiefs.
“When they talk people listen and generally, they make an effort to organize a get together to explain what they are going to do, he does try to resolve things with the owners to see how it will impact them, the chiefs here, we invite them over we have kava and talk, we on good terms, but the nappies are just bad.”
Owner of Ramada Resort, Loic Bernier said that the news concerning the lagoon hasn’t impacted his business much, however, once tourism begins, it definitely will.
“Not much, but when we open it will be an issue, so far the hotel is located on a beautiful lagoon for clients to come and swim and kayak, at the moment there is not much use for kayak, only when tourist come in and then it will be an issue of course.”
Mr. Bernier mentioned that he has lived in the country for 30 years and the lagoon has “never been good”.
With the lagoons as the main feature that entices customers to the Resorts, Mr. Bernier said that as bad as it is, COVID-19 is worse and that is where his focus is at the moment.
Owner of Poppys on the Lagoon Resort, Sydney Grace located by the Erakor Lagoon where the contaminant is at its highest, Mr. Grace said as long as there are no tourists the water will not affect his Resort.
“Currently with no tourists it will not affect our business but will have a negative impact if the situation continues once the borders reopen.”
Mr. Grace mentioned that he has not received any notice regarding a ban on recreational activities by anyone, which means the Erakor Chiefs and government departments have yet to implement any measures.
“We are a bit using water activities, we have not been advised by anyone that we can’t use the lagoon.”
Despite the drop in tourism and the Enterococci bacterium found in the water, there may be a silver lining after all.
According to the Vanuatu Engie Laboratory Technician Lucy Obed, in a conversation with marine environmentalist Carlos Noronha, she wrote: “Note also that the reduced tourist activities have drastically reduced sewage effluent and certainly improve water quality”.
Now the only question is, how can everything continue in harmony together at the same time – open borders and clean lagoons.
The next analysis report on the lagoons for the bacteria Enterococci is scheduled for this month.