A logging company operating on Kolombangara island, Western Province has defied orders by the Commissioner of Forests to halt its operations in the area.
Rima Logging Company was ordered to stop its operations by the Forests Commissioner on 18 October 2018 following complaints that it has encroached into another tribal land belonging to the Voko tribe.
The Commissioner issued the notice after receiving complaints from the Voko tribe that the logging company has entered their customary land without prior consent.
A Junior Ghotokera told SIBC Online, their only source of drinking water, the Pepele river, is being damaged and polluted by the logging operation.
He said numerous calls have also been made to the responsible authorities to assess the environmental impact of the damage caused as it is life threatening at the moment.
“We have raised numerous concerns especially calling for a health and environmental assessment to see whether the river is safe because an excavator is crossing the river and hauling in logs along the river, causing extensive damage to the river, our only drinking water source”.
Documents obtained by SIBC News indicated the logging company was trying to construct an access road through the Voko customary land despite a ‘Show Cause’ notice from the Commissioner of Forests.
Mr Ghotokera added, the fact that the logging company turns a blind eye on the country’s Forestry laws is worrying.
“Gizo Police have summoned both our party and the party representing the loggers but they refused to adhere to the notice issued as well as the information we provided to the Police.
“Their representative told the Police that they can only comply to a High Court order so such an attitude from a logger simply goes to show that the Forestry laws are not respected”.
By: Rickson Bau