Melisha Yafoi | Post Courier | January 15, 2020
Residents of Madang Province, especially those living along the coastline, can now eat fish and use the sea.
Minister for Environment and Conservation Wera Mori yesterday gave the clearance following an investigation done by the office of Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.
He said the waters are safe for use as elements tested were below detection limit. This was after the slurry spillage which has occurred in August last year.
Mr Mori said CEPA is contrasting and comparing the preliminary results of their investigation to the baseline studies that has been done in the past and will give what will be the allowable permits that was granted by environment and conservation for the operations of Ramu nickle project.
He said the reconnaissance has been done and the sampling has been taken especially on the quality of water, immediately around Basamuk as well as areas into the bay have shown that most of the results are below the detection limit.
“The elements that were tested included arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver and zinc.
The results returned showed that all of them were below what was allowable in the permits,” he said.
“Being a nickel mine, you would expect a very high elevated reading of nickel. What was allowed under the permit was 1000 parts per million of nickel,” he said.
“However, the test in the water quality taken in December taken by the independent team showed that it returned a range of results ranging from 0.5 parts per million to 17.2 parts per million which is far less than the expected permits allowable under the operations of the nickel mine.”
Mr Mori said the fish in the waters of Madang are safe and urged the people of people of Madang to go back and live their normal lives.
He said another part of the investigation will be looking at fish tissues however for fish tissues people must be able to understand and appreciate that the environment of which those marine organisms especially fish caught around waters concerned are located around an area of high geo tectonic activities.
“We are expected to find elevated readings of some of the elements that we know and are being testing but we are going to contrast that back once again to the allowable limits which are specified in the permits that were done before the permitting of the mine,” Mr Mori said.
“These results when ready will come in place and we will inform the people through parliament for the next month.”