‘Removal of mangroves causes flooding’

Resident of Gardiner Road Lepani Kolinisau stresses out a point during his interview with the Fiji Times in Suva yesterday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Former high schoolteacher Lepani Kolinisau claims the removal of mangroves in Nasese for the sake of development has resulted in his home being flooded whenever there was heavy rain.

The 73-year-old Gardiner Street resident said he also used to be able to catch crabs near his house but this was not happening any more.

Mr Kolinisau claims environmental concerns and the impact on residents were not considered when the $50 million Nasese Waters was given the nod.

“Last year, due to heavy rain, water started coming into our house around 2am,” Mr Kolinisau said.

“There is a drain outside our house which gets filled up with water that comes from the development site because of poor drainage.

“This area has been flooding for the past three years — from when the development started.

“The contractors have decided to cut down the mangroves, but we need those mangroves. We used to see crabs in our compound but rarely see them now.”

Mr Kolinisau said the developments made him question the commitment made by the FijiFirst government about climate change and keeping the environment intact. “I would read in the newspapers about the previous government on their concerns with mangroves.

“I recall reading in the newspaper, the former prime minister releasing mud crablets in Draunibota Bay, Lami, to restock the mangroves.

“The government policies are supposed to go hand-in-hand with what they are trying to preach.

“But no, they still want to cut the mangroves and proceed with these developments.”

Mr Kolinisau also questioned the logic of conducting Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and then cutting down mangroves to continue with the development anyway.

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