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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.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

I watched the video on a large screen and its very impressive.

The image of the logs on the barge is quite distressing but I enjoyed the footage of saksak making.

And soon there will be more barges travelling up and down to the mine. Just like there are on the Fly River. Wetlands silting up and no more fish is a recurring theme.

Congratulations Duncan and good luck with the government.

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