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Logging concerns in the Solomon Islands getting international attention

Dear Editor,
IN a series of news bulletins broadcast by Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) over the past few days, the focus has been on two logging incidents in the Solomon Islands that are reported to be of serious concern and, in one case, an investigation has been called for in respect of alleged biodiversity and environmental damage.
Quoting from the RNZI bulletins:-

East Are ‘Are, Malaita

“A Malaysian logging company has been accused of destroying two hectares of virgin mangrove forest in Solomon Islands’ Malaita Province.

“The owners of the forest of Rurata in the East Are ‘Are area in the province’s south are reportedly furious over the destruction caused.

“They use mangrove trees as posts for their houses and mangrove swamps provide the habitat for food sources like mud crabs, shellfish and mangrove fruit.

“The Solomon Star reported the MEGA logging company cut down the mangrove forest to use the trees as posts for a new wharf it is building.

“The paper reported the people were also worried the company had extracted coral from their reefs for the wharf building.

A conservationist in Solomon Islands is calling for an investigation into the legality of a logging operation that allegedly destroyed the two hectares of mangroves in Malaita province.

John Atitete helps run a conservation initiative in East Are’Are in South Malaita protecting mangroves and marine ecosystems.

Mr Atitete said the Malaysian-owned Mega Logging Company was required to assess the environmental impact of its operation at Rurata in March.

He said it was then meant to inform local communities of their findings by April before starting to log.

Mr Atitete said instead the company starting logging in March and had destroyed the mangroves.

According to the conservationist, the Solomons government needed to investigate.

“I want the ministry concerned that is Environment as well as Forestry to look into this issue, so that they can maybe halt the operation,” he said.

“Or maybe they can investigate how much biodiversity there is there and how much it is being affected by the pollution going into that place.”

South Choiseul.

“Forest owners of South Choiseul reportedly burnt machines belonging to Treasury Timber Limited on Friday.

“The forest owners were angry because the company had failed to pay them after its three shipments of round logs since starting operations in 2015.

“The Island Sun reports Choiseul Provincial Police have arrested a man suspected of being behind the burning.

“The forest owners have filed two cases at the country’s High Court in Honiara against Treasury Timber Limited, but they are still waiting for a response.”

Yours sincerely

Frank Short