14 Mar 2006

Protestors in Fiji succeed in stopping the destruction of Sigatoka sand dunes

9:08 pm on 14 March 2006

Environmental protestors in Fiji are claiming victory in the battle to save the country's only sand dunes.

A spokesperson for the protestors, Rosemary Steele, says the dunes, near Sigatoka, are a national treasure and the removal of dozens of truckloads of sand was destroying them.

She says carting the sand away has also affected the habitat of turtles and birds, and uncovered a vast burial ground which also includes some Lapita pottery.

Ms Steele says her group was forced from the site today after police threatened to arrest them, but the government later made a commitment to stop the sand's removal.

She says the group are delighted and now want to see to a clear law put in place to ensure the sand is not removed.

"If there are bones found on any of the soil, or sand or any part of the land, that is not to be taken, not to be touched, not to be mined, no one should touch it. So what they [the government] are going to do is they are going to have another big meeting and make that a law in Fiji to have it in black and white that that is the case."