Tonga was recently ranked second on the World Risk Index’s ‘2018 Disaster Risk’ list. I think many Tongans, including myself, are concerned over what is occurring with the Government’s development projects at Popua and this recent ranking only reinforces our worries.
Wetlands and swampy areas play an important role in protecting coastlines from the impacts of destructive swells and sediment erosion. By replacing them with imported sand and rock using questionable engineering methods we expose ourselves, and the communities living there, to greater risk. Tonga's resilience becomes reduced as a whole.
The canals that have been dug - multiple are evident from satellite imagery - are also concerning in the erratic way that they have been constructed. The worst of them is the main canal draining directly from the newly built park through the wetland and into the coastline. This will act as a funnel for any chemicals or toxins from the ill-managed Tukutonga dump rehabilitation site to seep into the marine life that is consumed by all of Tongatapu.
Someone in the Government must speak up and take action or they will be held accountable by future generations who are impacted by these decisions.