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SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 1, 2000 – Fiji Times)---Workers and passersby were shocked to see dead fish floating in Suva’s Walu Bay inlet yesterday.

A dockworker at Shipbuilding Fiji, Ltd. said thousands of fish died.

A few samples of water and dead fish were sent to the Fisheries Department for tests and a report was expected in 24 hours.

The fish were found by people crossing the Walu Bay inlet in the early morning rush.

It is believed to have been caused by a toxic substance used by a fisherman to kill fish for bait.

EDITORIAL COMMENT Fiji Times February 2, 2000


It appears that concerted campaigns to protect the environment have come to naught.

Yesterday some callous citizen poured a toxic substance into Walu Bay and killed several hundred fish.

There appeared to be no apparent reason behind this wanton and deliberate act other than to kill some fish.

It is possible that the culprit took some fish home for a meal.

This person may have passed the marine life on to unsuspecting buyers in the market.

In each case people would have been unwittingly exposed to poisonous substances which could have a dangerous effect on their lives.

Already marine life in Walu Bay and the Suva Harbour is under threat from oil spills and toxic waste from factories and industries based along the foreshore.

At several sites along the coast and on our rivers people dump household and industrial rubbish into the waterways.

Environmental laws have been put in place to protect the river and sea from such callous disregard.

Heavy penalties have been imposed to act as deterrents.

It appears, however, that warnings, laws and fines have no effect on some members of the community.

They continue to pollute the environment and destroy life with no thought for the children of the future.

It is this ignorant, selfish attitude that has changed Fiji from what was once a tropical paradise.

A walk through Thurston Gardens in Suva shows the extent of the environmental problem.

Food wrappers and empty plastic bottles litter what should be a green oasis where people can escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Rubbish bins lie on their sides and parts of the garden are beginning the gradual but inevitable metamorphosis from lawn to swamp.

The main problem is the lack of enforcement of environmental laws.

Police or municipal councils must move now to protect the environment.

This can only be done if there is total commitment from the Government and the community in general.

Without decisive action now the young people of this country will inherit little more than a barren land devoid of its once thriving flora and fauna.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

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