Coastal devastation

An aerial view of Labasa Town. Picture: FILE

The effects of developments carried out in Labasa Town usually affect villagers on coastal Macuata area.

Labasa hotelier Lara Bourke made this comment during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica saying they could no longer take tourists out to reefs as thick silt has buried it.

She said many people living in Labasa failed to see this impact on villagers, which has affected the fishing ground of many.

“Any development in Labasa is to be done in a sustainable way because, for us in the islands, we see all the negative effects of development,” she said.

“The rubbish that gets washed down the coast and the silt that has buried the coral reef system out at sea.

“My husband is from Mali Island and he has seen a whole coral reef system lost. In his childhood days, the reef area he used to fish at has completely disappeared.

“But he said if you reach right down into this reef with your arm up to your shoulders, you can feel the reef, but it has been covered by silt.”

Ms Bourke pleaded with other business people to always carry out development projects in a sustainable manner.

“People in Labasa don’t know this, so any development done in Labasa, they should bear in mind these effects we get to see and face down the coast,” she said.

“We can’t take tourists out to dive in the Great Sea Reef because the brown algae has covered the reef as a result of developments.

“We need to see sustainable and eco-tourism projects if we want tourists to come to Labasa and we need to show them the beauty of Macuata.”

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