Destruction on the Sepik River

Auna Melo Blog

WEWAK – Many people living along the Sepik River have raised concerns about the serious destruction of the river.

The river and the people who rely on it are affected by the movement of tug boats and pontoons along the river but their calls are falling on deaf ears.

The logging operations are in West Sepik Province, however the companies use the river as the fastest way to ferry the logs from the headwaters of the river to the sea.

Little do the companies understand that their actions are adversely affecting the people and their livelihoods.

The continuous movement of the boats causes problems on the river.

The serious concerns raised include sedimentation, river bank erosion, pollution from oil spills and disturbed fishing grounds.

“The logging is in West Sepik, why are the logs being brought down our river?” an elder from Avatip village in the Middle Sepik asked.

“We’re being affected by these boats. We do not want them on our river.”

The same sentiment was echoed in the 24 villages of the Upper and Middle Sepik river I visited recently.

There is resentment towards the logging companies who are using the river and destroying it.

I interviewed a couple of people who shared their concerns on the use of the river by logging companies and how it was affecting them.

From those interviews, I put together a video to get their voices out there for the government to see.

You can see the 10-minute video here – meet some of our people and understand the threats they face.

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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