1 Feb 2006

Growing concern over contamination of Suva Harbour

11:14 am on 1 February 2006

Concern is growing in Fiji that the waters of Suva Harbour are highly polluted, with a concentration of heavy metals from domestic and industrial waste that threaten marine life.

The Fiji Times reports that the concern has been voiced by the Environment Department's national coordinator for the International Water Programme, Sundeep Singh.

Miss Singh, who has carried out research on heavy metal contamination in the harbour, says there are high concentrations of copper, iron and zinc in the water.

She says the issue is not helped by the presence of the Lami rubbish dump on the coastline, residues of paints from anchored ships, littering and overflow of septic tanks into the harbour.

Miss Singh's comments come in the wake of concern about the danger of eating fish and shellfish caught in the harbour and surrounding areas.

Raw sewage from the heavily populated Nasinu area is also reported to be polluting coastal waters that are popular fishing spots for commercial fishermen and villagers in the Rewa delta.

The University of the South Pacific has warned several times of dangerous concentrations of E-coli bacteria in shellfish in the Rewa delta.