Lagoon work at a standstill

Wednesday December 23, 2015 Written by Published in Local
Muri lagoon’s growing algae problems are beginning to affect its reputation as a tourist attraction. 15122115 Muri lagoon’s growing algae problems are beginning to affect its reputation as a tourist attraction. 15122115

The murky green algae blanketing Muri lagoon’s pristine ocean floor is set to stay put over the Christmas period, with plans to improve water flow not expected to be released until the New Year.

 

At a recent Ngatangiia community meeting, a steering group was formed to review proposals of remedial work in lagoon and produce associated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports.

Included on the steering group are Doctor Teina Rongo, marine scientist Jacquie Evans, WATSAN’s Jamie Short and Don Dorrell, a local authority on Rarotonga lagoons and foreshores.

Short told CI News yesterday technical specialists were set to meet today to look at removing the Aroko fish trap which stretches across the width of the lagoon between Muri lagoon and Avana.  They had hoped the EIA would be completed before Christmas, but Short now believes the report will be completed by around the second week of January.

Asked if the government was pushing the EIA as a matter of urgency, National Enviroment Service director Joseph Brider said his department was treating the application with as much urgency as the law allowed.

“The EIA is being prepared by the community group and I am sure they are working as quickly as they can. Once the community submit the EIA to NES, we will take it through the review process before advertising for 30 days to the general public.

“Following that, if the EIA has satisfied public expectations, it will be submitted to the Rarotonga Environment Authority for their consideration.”

However the Rarotonga Enviroment Authority (REA) does not have the greatest track record of time management, taking months to make a decision on Petrocean’s controversial proposal for an over-the-reef pipeline.

Meanwhile, the green algae is continuing to strangle Muri lagoon, and visitors are noticing.

CI News has received reports of tourists hesitant to swim in the lagoon and complaining of lack of visibility when they snorkel.

The newspaper has also received a report of tourists who did not want to jump off Avana Jetty because of the algae in the water.

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