29 Jun 2012

Study shows soil and food pollution on Hao in French Polynesia

1:10 pm on 29 June 2012

A study has found soil and food contamination on the French Polynesian atoll of Hao from PCB and heavy metal pollutants.

Extracts from the study were published in the French newspaper Le Monde, and follow an announcement earlier in June of plans for an aquaculture project on Hao.

The atoll was the main French military base during France's nuclear weapons testing programme in the South Pacific.

The publisher of the Tahiti-Pacifique monthly, Alex Du Prel, says the study shows the contamination is industrial and not nuclear.

"So they used to throw all there oil changes and leaky transformers into septic tanks and these tanks leached into the lagoon. Apparently there are certain areas where the fish is not edible and there are coconut groves where the coconuts are not edible."

Alex Du Prel says the study did not show whether the pollution on Hao has affected the health of the atoll's 1,500 inhabitants.