13 May 2002

Solomons minister says waste dumping is a development issue

4:02 pm on 13 May 2002

The Solomon Islands minister of national unity, Nathaniel Waena, says the government is considering a plan to dump industrial waste from Taiwan in Makira province as a way to help development.

Mr Waena, who is also the MP for Ulawa-Makira, says the proposal by a group of Taiwanese businessmen is not being pursued because of financial problems experienced by the government.

The deal is worth 200 million US dollars but Solomon Islands scientists say the waste is toxic and cannot be brought into the country because it would violate the Waigani Convention.

The Taiwanese government says it will not allow the exportation of waste which is harmful to the environment.

But Mr Waena says the government is still looking at the proposal.

"We are here talking about economic development alternatives. We need expert opinion, okay if you were to part with the idea of importing hazardous waste or industrial waste what else is there as an alternative to provide to the humankind in that part of the province that are lagging behind with economic development activities but at the same time they are human beings who must draw the attention of the government whether it be provincial or national government of Solomon Islands for purposes of existence and survival in the eye of the adverse situation that we are in in Solomon Islands"

Nathanael Waena