9 Nov 2004

Tuvalu blames sewage problem on climate change

3:56 pm on 9 November 2004

The government in Tuvalu has admitted there overflows of sewage every time it rains heavily in low-lying areas of the capital.

Sanitation workers says in king tides or the rainy season, the groundwater rises in parts of Funafuti, forcing up raw, untreated sewage.

One official says this happened after heavy rain two days ago.

The secretary of the environment ministry, Matio Tekinene, acknowledges that part of the problem is untreated sewage being forced up from soak-pits.

"If these soak-pits is prone to flooding, during high tides or during rainy seasons, you have all this stuff in the septic tanks, maybe there are possibilities that they can escape from these trenches or soak-pits."

Mr Tekinene says he'll be at the meeting of a taskforce tomorrow.

He says the sewage problem is linked to rising sea-levels and climate change.