22 Mar 2016

Tuvalu's borrow pits finally filled in

4:20 pm on 22 March 2016

Tuvalu's main island, Funafuti, has gained an extra eight percent of usable land after the completion of a project to fill in so-called 'borrow pits' left behind after the Second World War.

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Photo: RNZ

The pits, which scarred much of Funafuti and later became full of rubbish and stagnant water, were created by the United States military which used the coral to build an airfield on the atoll in the 1940s.

The newly-appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to Tuvalu, Linda Te Puni, said the New Zealand- and European Union-funded project involved pumping sand from the lagoon onto a barge to fill the pits.

"It was a significant amount of a very small land area. The actual area that's now been remediated from all of these 'borrow pits' represents eight percent of that land, so it's a significant investment in rehabilitation really of land for Tuvalu.

Linda Te Puni said the pits have been filled to a slightly higher level to take into account king tides and rising sea levels.