There was an embarrassingly low turnout for the Department of Conservation’s expensive Public Forum on marine dumping of mine waste in Madang on Wednesday.
Only 9 members of the public were present to hear a presentation from the Scottish Association of Marine Scientists who were commissioned in 2007 to do a study on marine waste dumping in PNG.
The public attendees were outnumbered four to one by DEC and MRA officers, Ramu nickel mine staff and Provincial government employees.
A request by journalists to film the presentation, so it could be shared with others unable to attend the Forum, was refused by DEC and the Scottish scientists.
While the whole meeting was something of a farce, it does again raise some important questions:
- Why did the PNG government only instigate an independent review of marine dumping 7 years AFTER approving the Ramu nickel mine waste dumping?
- Why is the PNG government wasting public money on Forums for expensive foreign scientists to speak to 7 or 8 members of the public?
- Why was the Forum organized in a University auditorium AFTER the academic year had ended and students gone home and why were all the university staff unaware of the meeting?
- Why would DEC and the scientists refuse to be filmed? Surely they weren’t saying anything that was untrue?