Environmental backlash – logging

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DEAR EDITOR, this article is not intended to sling mud on whosoever, but rather swayed towards putting things in perspective, to say the least.

Solomon Islands has a chequered history when it comes to environmental damage caved by illusive logging companies.

Examples are many nationwide but gone unfretted. And this espouses one at our own backyard.

In a frantic move to elude itself from its financial obligations due to disgruntled landowners, a logging firm operating in our ward – precisely with its camp at Fote Village in West Kwara’ae, Malaita – hastily left leaving behind an environmental scar.

A rusty-iron tank containing fuel leaked unabatedly on the shoreline as it was heaved onto a waiting barge.

One could just imagine what its effects on marine life ever since – horrendous presumably.

Sadly though, the spill may have been played down unless the matter is brought to attention.

The irony is that the drama unfolded right in front of the very eyes of the authorities, police whilst hapless locals startled with perplexity.

One thing, at the outset, is becoming eminent: incidents of these sorts are becoming common, despite laws in place, where authorities seemed to turn a blind eye on environmental damage to economic gain – which is so contentious in logging.

This profoundly resonates the notion of “Who guides the guardians?” A subtle deity often mooted of ruling elites in the Pacific Island countries.

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Understandably, in a pecking order, logging is one of the ‘cash-cow’ industries in terms of revenue (30 – 40 percent) towards government coffers.

A significant percentage where even our renowned policy strategists over the years have yet to come to grips with it in the event of a sudden fallout.

Meantime, the way things are now, the government is hell-bent than ever in ensuring the industry’s operations remain unscathed at all costs!

Until such a time when logging comes to an end (unlikely), its prolongation will inevitably rue us of our forest resources, and moreso, proliferates the escalation of climate change.

Invariably, our country is one of the most vulnerable due to its many inhabited low-lying islands. God forsakes us when this mayhem takes its toll.

Amid all these madness, one thing is certain: economic gain in isolation is dysfunctional to the optimal equilibrium in the development matrix of a nation. What it really does is the opposite.

It entrenches our country more into the trappings of a society caught up in a quagmire of “natural states” where institutions are fragile – ushering it onto a path anecdotal to a ‘failed state’.

The more we go down this path, the more we bring misery to our very own people.

Jay Leemans,

Honiara

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