President Stephen Lyon said they had simply responded to calls from the Muri business community to assist in “finding a solution or pathway forward,” to clean the lagoon.
A massive algal bloom in Muri lagoon had become a concern for the businesses in the area, considered one of the top tourist spots in Rarotonga.
Lyon said the Chamber of Commerce acted after other responsible stakeholders failed to take steps towards cleaning the lagoon.
“It is certainly my view that the Government should have driven this work, but in the absence of a response, we decided to conduct a trial of one particular methodology I thought had the best chance of succeeding, so that government is better informed to resolve the situation,” he said.
“The removal of the algae is one part of a more detailed and long term strategy to properly rectify the situation.”
Lyon earlier told CI News that the trial to scrap algae in Muri lagoon using an excavator was successful.
The work which started last month, was a pilot project to clear algae from the lagoon through dredging.
“During the trial, methodology was trialed and adapted to get the best results while reducing any negative impacts. Where the algae has been removed the lagoon floor immediately responded by returning to a coarse, white sandy bottom,” Lyon said.
He said no negative issues affecting the marine ecosystem were recorded during the trials.
Both the Ministry of Marine Resources and Environment Service officers had been present for parts of the work.
Lyon said a complete Environmental Impact Assessment to clear the rest of the algae from the lagoon had been submitted to National Environment Service (NES).
“And it is now in government’s hands to move forward from here.”
CI News sent an email to NES manager - advisory and compliance division, Vavia Tangatataia for further comments late last month, but did not receive a response.