Fish are dying at Erakor Lagoons.
We all need to Act together before we lose them forever.
A PLEDGE TO DEFEND THE ERAKOR LAGOONS
The Community of Erakor Bridge is again expressing their deep concerns for the future of the Erakor Lagoons. The lack of real action from the authorities, us and our society lead to another environmental disaster causing again the dead of thousands of fish in the Erakor Lagoons.
We cannot accept this passive behaviour from the authorities, private businesses and all of us, as a society. Talking, and not acting, is leading to the lost our biggest wealth in Vanuatu: our environment, the land and our beautiful Lagoons. Let’s make it clearer: there is no economy, no tourism, no jobs, no food, no life, without our pristine environment.
The Erakor Bridge Community has being tireless acting to protect the fish and the marine life. Some actions for example are: planting mangroves and trees, cleaning the lagoon, from removing plastic pollution, improve waste management and advocate for a fishing ban, now in place till May 2024. The community has been alerting for the rapid degradation of the fragile ecosystems around the Lagoons for decades. We know from a marine biology scientist that the balance of all Efate marine ecosystems depend from the Erakor Lagoons. It is unacceptable and painful, once again, to see authorities ignoring these messages, and worst, assist to another ecological disaster and thousands of dead fish.
We have seen multiple actions threatening our fish from all sectors of the society. We witnessed the leaking of chemicals and tar directly into the Lagoon while in building roads and infrastructure, the destruction of dense area Nabanga trees, mangroves, machines digging earth in the margins breaking old coral systems, building walls of and concrete in private resorts or private houses, proliferation of open drainages directly into the lagoon. All of these apparently without assessment of the environmental impacts by the authorities. It is not so expensive to go around the margins of the lagoons and detect irregularities. We can assist the authorities by using our traditional canoes.
The bacteriological levels of pollution are a big concern for us. Apparently authorities do regular water analysis, but do not make it public. The Erakor Bridge Community funded water analysis in July 2020. The chief made the very bad results public. An institutional ‘Water Task Force’ promised to fine businesses and the Hospital, as if fines can fix the lack a comprehensive sanitation infrastructure plan of Port Vila for waste water safe treatment.
La Niña is not a surprise, it was predictable by science years ago and we have a Climate Change Ministry. Having more pollution now is also not a surprise, if we knew that was bad in July, the flow of pollution didn’t stop since then and was not cleaned. Authorities, donors, NGOs, experts know well about the waste water plant of the Port Vila hospital. What has been done? The hospital is a real evident source of pollution, but we also know about the poor sewage of systems from houses, businesses, petrol stations without any sewage systems, and toilets from our community leaking to the Lagoons. Floods just make sewages overflow to the Lagoon and highlight the issue. Now Fish is again sacrificed to make us open our eyes.
When a society knows about the pollution but is not acting to stop it, probably we face another problem worse than pollution itself: we are losing common sense in our society, high levels of informed talk do not correspond of any practical action. There are enough talks in 5 star hotels funded by multiple international donors, served fancy food and water in plastic bottles: climate change, disasters, resilience, adaptation, etc…The talk doesn’t have the correspondent walk.
1. We urge the authorities to make regular bacterial and chemical analysis to the Erakor Lagoons in a monthly basis and make results public;
2. We urge authorities to enforce the existent environment laws and inspect all potential pollution sources;
3. We urge authorities to look for long term and efficient waste water treatment solutions for Port Vila;
4. We urge he community leaders to seek government and NGO support focus on water and solid waste management;
5. We urge donors and NGOs to support our government re-focus their WASH programs in support communities to find appropriate and durable solutions for waste water and solid waste;
6. We consider to use our association rights, use all legal means in our access to raise court cases for cases of negligence of authorities in comply or enforce the existent environment law of the country
7. As individuals we are committed to act and promote community solutions focus on the improvement of the sanitation and environment protection of the Erakor Lagoons
We, the signatories of this petition also make a pledge to be committed to voice the rights of our marine resources and act to improve the quality of the Erakor Lagoons water and surrounded environment.
Please sign here