Alan Ah Mu
APIA: THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2014: Soothing residents of Ta’elefaga village outraged by the stink from Afulilo Dam periodically with talk and money from Government is a cycle set to continue for years.
Because the stink won’t go away, said Shadow Minister of the Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.
“It’ll happen … every year or every second year,” Toeolesulusulu said.
When the consequent anger at Ta’elefaga is met with money as again occurred this month in a meeting with the Minister of Electric Power Corporation (EPC) and officials, it’ll become an expensive exercise over time, he said.
“Because it doesn’t resolve the problem.”
When the water level at Afulilo Dam drops, quick growing vegetation cover the exposed margins of the lake.
When rain falls water covers the vegetation which rots releasing a bad smell that ends up downhill in the stream that flows through coastal Ta’elefaga.
Three separate studies done over the years since the dam was built in 1991 have recommended options to solve the problem to EPC.
EPC has not implemented any of them, said Toeolesulusulu.
An environmentalist, he took part in a 2004 study before he became an MP.
One recommendation he recalls was for a pipe to take the water when it starts to stink, directly to the ocean beyond the reef where the cause of the stink – sulfur – has a wider area to disperse.
EPC says such a solution is expensive and he agrees.
But periodic payments to Ta’elefaga will add up over the years, he said.
Lagoon fisheries of the village have suffered contamination and visits by the fish species mullet and atule stopped over 10 years ago, the Shadow Environment Minister said.
Things could get more expensive if the village takes court action, he said.