15 May 2002

Solomon Islands cabinet minister defends plans to import industrial waste from Taiwan

6:20 pm on 15 May 2002

A Solomon Islands cabinet minister says no tests have been conducted by the country's Quarantine Divison on samples of industrial waste a local company wants to import from Taiwan.

Education Minister, Matthais Taro, who is also MP for West Makira where the waste would be dumped, says Solomon Islands does not have a laboratory to carry out such tests.

However he says the government intends to engage an independent group of soil scientists to test the waste.

The cost of those tests, he says would be borne by the Taiwanese company seeking to export the waste to Makira.

He says two sample tests carried out in Taiwan showed the waste is not hazardous persuading cabinet to re-issue the import license it had given to Haura Development Company but which was later withdrawn.

He says the license can still be withdrawn if the independent test proves the waste is hazardous.

The Taiwanese government says the waste is toxic and it won't allow its exportation.