Algae removal project in limbo

Wednesday June 08, 2016 Written by Published in Environment

THE BID to scrap algae from the weed-infested Muri lagoon using an excavator is in limbo.


Finance minister Mark Brown said there were conflicting views on whether to continue with the pilot project which was spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce in March this year.

Chamber of Commerce president Stephen Lyon had earlier clarified the organisation’s role in leading the pilot project, saying they were just responding to calls from the Muri business community to assist in finding a solution.

He also said the pilot project had been successful.

The Chamber of Commerce submitted a complete report to National Environment Services (NES) for their consideration regarding further work to clean up the lagoon.

But Lyon said NES had come back to them for more information before giving them the green light.

Brown, while responding to questions from CI News on whether funds had been allocated in the upcoming budget to complete the scraping project, said the government was more concerned about the real cause of the algal bloom.

He said they would need to consider advice from NES before deciding on the future of the project.

“The government is more concerned with the cause of this problem which is why we are now talking about sewerage reticulation for that area. That’s where the focus is now.

“I’m not sure what the outcome of that pilot project was, but I do know there are conflicting views on whether to continue with that pilot project or not and a lot of that is coming from the Muri community and the environmental groups.”

NES reviewed the initial report from the Chamber of Commerce before seeking more information to ensure the negative and positive effects of the clean-up were well covered.

In the pilot project, the Chamber of Commerce used an excavator to scrap algae in Muri lagoon.

During the trial, methodology was trialed and adapted to get the best results while reducing any negative impacts.

Lyon had earlier stated that where the algae had been removed, the lagoon floor immediately responded by returning to a coarse, white sandy bottom.

A massive algal bloom in Muri lagoon had become a concern for the businesses in the area, considered one of the top tourist spots on Rarotonga.

The weed problem had also attracted comments and attention from tourists and New Zealand media.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Helen Thursday, 16 June 2016 18:30 posted by Helen

    How is the algae issue in Muri? Yes, a lot of forums are saying that you shouldn't swim in Muri due to the algae and causing sickness.

    Could there be a formal statement issued about the situation in the lagoon and if there is a health risk if you swim in it?

    Thank you,


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